Fundamentalism, 2nd, Revised and Updated Edition
March 2008, Polity
In a direct and punchy style, the new edition of his book
investigates what lies behind the actions of Al-Qaeda, suicide
bombings and the ‘war against terror’, and also gets to
grips with the continuing rise of the Christian Right in the USA.
It offers new insights into the Protestant fundamentalism of the
American political right-wing, looking at the influence issues such
as abortion, gay rights and ‘intelligent design’ have
had on US foreign policy and domestic politics.
Bruce’s broad sociological analysis rejects the
narrowly-conceived notion that fundamentalists are suffering from
some kind of abnormal psychology, persuasively demonstrating
fundamentalism’s importance as a symptom of rapid social
Social science has generally focused on the social circumstances
that produce extremist movements and regarded their religious
ideologies as window-dressing. This study takes the religious
elements of fundamentalism seriously.
Topics tackled in the book include:
- Why are some religions more likely than others to produce
- Why do they differ in their willingness to use violence to
pursue their goals?
- Does fundamentalism pose a serious challenge or sustainable alternative to the secular, liberal democracy of Western society?
This thought-provoking and highly topical book will be essential reading for students of any discipline drawing on the sociology of religion. It will also appeal to those beyond the academic community who want to know what fundamentalism really means today.
Introduction to the Second Edition.
1 The Nature of the Beast.
2 Modernity: the Great Satan.
3 Islamic Fundamentalism.
4 Fundamentalism in the USA.
5 Fundamentalisms: Causes and Consequences.
- topical and important Key Concepts volume
- lively and accessible analysis of the full range of fundamentalisms
- now updated to include discussions of the implications of 9/11 and the resurgence of Islam
- author is well-established in this field, and read widely across the world
- suitable for use in a range of different social science subjects.
Times Higher Education
"Steve Bruce writes always with great lucidity from a clearly
stated point of view. His essay on fundamentalism is no exception.
It is well informed and easily accessible and it deserves to be
taken seriously even by people who disagree with his view."
Martin Riesebrodt, University of Chicago
"The term fundamentalism is generally used carelessly, and often
used rhetorically to suggest (for example) that American (or
Ulster) conservative Protestants are on a par with Islamist
radicals. In this important and definitive book Steve Bruce
provides a trenchant sociological analysis of what fundamentalism
is, and outlines its kinds, causes and consequences. He also sets
his analysis of fundamentalism in the context of an extremely
succinct account of secularisation. In particular he shows that
fundamentalism of whatever kind has no chance of succeeding. This
is a very useful book for the commentariat as well the interested
David Martin, London School of Economics and Political Science
"Trenchant, informative and wide-ranging, Steve Bruce’s
book demolishes popular myths, forcing us to confront the complex
social realities of traditionally-minded religious communities
threatened by the incursions of secular modernity.
Fundamentalism is essential reading for anyone seeking to
understand the dynamics of religion in the contemporary
Alan Aldridge, University of Nottingham