The Open UniversitySkip to content

on the Formation and Function of the Category 'Religion' in anarchist writing

Tremlett, Paul-Francois (2004). on the Formation and Function of the Category 'Religion' in anarchist writing. Culture and Religion, 5(3) pp. 367–381.

DOI (Digital Object Identifier) Link:
Google Scholar: Look up in Google Scholar


Recent works by Asad, McCutcheon and Fitzgerald have sought to call into question the category 'religion' in social anthropology and religious studies. The purpose of this essay is to explore the formation and function of the category religion in anarchist writing. Taking the mid-nineteenth century as a rough point of departure, I demonstrate that the formation and function of religion as a category in anarchist writing reflects wider constructions and imaginings of modernity through which religion emerges as a cipher for thinking about the past. I will argue that the function of the category religion in anarchist writing is to order relations between past and present. Specifically, where 'anarcho-modernist' writing broadly constitutes religion and the past as conditions to be overcome, 'anarcho-romanticist' writing articulates a generalised nostalgia for religion and the past, although it should be noted that religion is rarely dealt with in any systematic way in anarchist writing. I will conclude by suggesting that although anarchist writing is a marginal corpus of literature, the category religion is constituted along similar lines and fulfils similar functions in both anthropological and phenomenological writings on religion.

Item Type: Journal Article
Copyright Holders: 2004 Taylor & Francis
ISSN: 1475-5629
Keywords: religion; anarchism; modernity; romanticism; Michael Bakunin; Herbert Read
Academic Unit/Department: Arts > Religious Studies
Item ID: 28428
Depositing User: Paul-François Tremlett
Date Deposited: 25 Mar 2011 16:53
Last Modified: 18 Jan 2016 10:08
Share this page:


Scopus Citations

▼ Automated document suggestions from open access sources

Actions (login may be required)

Policies | Disclaimer

© The Open University   + 44 (0)870 333 4340