A sociological study of the relationship between religious violence and economic globalization
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This dissertation sociologically examines the relationship between religious violence and economic globalization. Chapter 2 begins with an analysis of the theories of religious violence in general. This chapter presents the theories which emphasize the rationality of religious violence: the rational choice theory provided by Rodney Stark; Rene Girard's scapegoating mechanism; the studies of millenarian movements; and Mark Juegensmeyer's "grand scenario" theory. Chapter 3 examines the irrationality of economic globalization. The irrationality of economic globalization is described and theorized as New Colonialism, McDonaldization, and McWorld. Throughout this chapter the brutality of economic globalization is exposed. Chapter 4 analyzes the attack of September 11. This case study condemns the current stereotypes of the Islamic faith and economic globalization: the former is said to represent irrationality, the latter rationality. This case study reveals the opposite, which is that Islamic violence, resulting from the irrationality of economic globalization, is very rational in the eyes of the perpetrators. Chapter 5 addresses the Tokyo subway attack initiated by Aum Shinrikyo, one of Japan's new religions. The rational organization of modern economic life alone does not provide an adequate basis for building and sustaining a society in which life is worth living. The fact that Japanese society does not have a support system for the marginalized creates unique opportunities for such religious groups as Aum Shinrikyo. Chapter 6 concludes that even as its proponents speak of increased prosperity and investment confidence, the process of economic globalization breeds religious violence and conflict when it continues to produce inequality, poverty, environmental destruction and unprecedented concentration of economic power for a few, while the majority are marginalized and excluded. For the local churches, the cumulative adverse effects of economic globalization and subsequent religious violence require careful and deep analysis which goes beyond the contemporary dominant ideologies of the free market and neo-liberalism.