The Social Construction of “Religion” and Its Limits: A Critical Reading of Timothy Fitzgerald
Several theorists argue that the concept of “religion” is not a cultural universal but rather emerged under particular historical and political conditions in the modern post-Reformation west. “Religion,” they say, is a social construction. What are the implications of this view of the ontology of religion? My aim in this paper is to critically engage the arguments of Timothy Fitzgerald—a social constructionist about religion who combines, in my judgment, insight and confusion on the issue—in order to trace out the values and the limits of this approach.
Keywords: religion, social construction, deconstruction, ontology, Timothy Fitzgerald