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Economics and

The Economics of Religion: Anthropological Approaches

ISBN: 978-1-78052-228-9, eISBN: 978-1-78052-229-6

ISSN: 0190-1281

Publication date: 12 December 2011


The “economics of religion” has grown into a new and groundbreaking approach to the study of religious beliefs, preferences, attitudes, belongings, organizations, and dynamics. This chapter circumscribes its epistemological area, outlines some of the major developments in the field, allows place for the presentation of both important theoretical models (market theory, rational choice, supply-and-demand) and crucial criticisms that have been directed toward them. If the “economics of religion” partakes of an attempt to explain religion in ancient or recent history, in the conceptual prism of economics, the general movement known as globalization has accelerated the convergence of economics and cultural/social analysis in religious studies. Anthropology, however, has gone its own way regarding economic issues. It has been somewhat reluctant to espouse the principles of “economics of religion,” even while being convinced of its relevance. Some recent anthropological works on globalization and religion are presented here as examples of this ambivalent contribution of anthropology to the economics of religion in global settings.


Obadia, L. and Wood, D.C. (2011), "Economics and", Obadia, L. and Wood, D.C. (Ed.) The Economics of Religion: Anthropological Approaches (Research in Economic Anthropology, Vol. 31), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. xiii-xxxvii.



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