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Sacred Tensions
Modernity and Religious Transformation in Malaysia

Raymond L. M. Lee and Susan E. Ackerman

Dynamic religious and social change in a country that exemplifies religious multiplicity

Despite predictions that the contemporary world with its secular trends would eventually turn religion into an anachronism, at no time in modern history has religion been more vibrant and intense than now. In Sacred Tensions Raymond L. M. Lee and Susan E. Ackerman consider this resurgence of religion, particularly the resurgence of charismatic practices, in light of the importance of modernity, rationalism, and bureaucracy. The authors look specifically at the relation between secularization and religion in Malaysia, which serves as a crossroads of the world religions.

Lee and Ackerman suggest that Malaysia's rapidly modernizing society offers an ideal setting in which to study the dynamics of religious and social change. They examine the development and practice of Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, and Christianity and from their analyses provide insight about how established and charismatic religions fit into the framework of modernization and secularization throughout the world.

Raymond L. M. Lee is an associate professor of sociology at the University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur.

Susan E. Ackerman is a lecturer in sociology at HELP Institute, Kuala Lumpur.

"This book, by two sociologists who have established reputations in the study of Malaysian religion, has two notable strengths. First, its analysis is integrated around a set of concepts derived from Max Weber. Secondly, it provides a comparative survey of four major religious traditions."—Journal of Contemporary Religion

"For courses on Southeast Asian religions or the general sociologist of religious interested in an intriguing non-Western case study, then, this is a useful and welcome book."—American Journal of Sociology



book jacket for Sacred Tensions


6 x 9
172 pages
10 illustrations
ISBN 978-1-57003-167-0
cloth, $34.95s

Studies in Comparative Religion

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