18. Unintentionally Constructing ‘Good’ and ‘Bad’ Religions in Teaching Classical European Social Theories at a Japanese University

Hijacked - A Critical Treatment of the Public Rhetoric of Good and Bad Religion - Leslie Dorrough Smith

Mitsutoshi Horii [+-]
Shumei University
Mitsutoshi Horii is Professor at Shumei University, Japan. He works at Chaucer College, UK, as Shumei’s representative. His recent research focuses on the function of modern Western categories, such as ‘religion,’ and examines the ways in which these categories authorise and naturalise specific norms and imperatives in a variety of socio-cultural contexts, including Japan and Euro-American social theories. His most recent publications include the monograph The Category of ‘Religion’ in Contemporary Japan: Shūkyō and Temple Buddhism (Palgrave Macmillan, 2018). His forthcoming monograph is entitled Social Theory and the Ideas of ‘Religion’ and ‘the Secular’: Postcolonial Reflections on Sociology (Palgrave Macmillan).

Description

This essay on teaching in the context of a Japanese university demonstrates that colloquial definitions of religion that are common in Japan make it very difficult for Japanese students to avoid categorizing religions as “good” and “bad,” particularly when they are learning about classical sociological theories of religion. The author argues that because such theories make Western presumptions about religion’s nature that are quite different from traditional Japanese conceptualizations of the concept, the use of the term “religion” is virtually meaningless in this setting.

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Citation

Horii, Mitsutoshi. 18. Unintentionally Constructing ‘Good’ and ‘Bad’ Religions in Teaching Classical European Social Theories at a Japanese University. Hijacked - A Critical Treatment of the Public Rhetoric of Good and Bad Religion. Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom. p. Jul 2020. ISBN 9781781797273. https://www.equinoxpub.com/home/view-chapter/?id=35435. Date accessed: 18 Oct 2019 doi: 10.1558/equinox.35435. Jul 2020

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