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Paperback - 219 pp
Victoria Erickson's Where Silence Speaks is the first
sustained feminist appraisal of the social theory of religion.
How do the classic social theories portray women's religious
roles? How does the undeniable power of religion actually
function within the full web of power relations that constitute
society? Does social theory itself contribute to women's
oppression or liberation?
In the silences of the discipline's giants on questions of gender
and power, Erickson hears a damning complicity in women's
Ironically, she finds, precisely in their asserting religion's
distinctive import by postulating a separate religious realm, the sacred,
social theories have buttressed the strict dualism that is the
source and enforcer of socially constructed gender roles.
Accounts of religion that simply assert the sacrality of women's
experience without confronting the disastrous consequences of the
sacred/profane axiom, she argues, fall short of doing justice to
either women or religion.
Erickson's work concludes with a brilliant and tantalizing
proposal to reorient the whole discipline around hearing women's
actual voices to create a feminist social theory of religion.
This book provides the first feminist reconstruction of Emile
Durkheim's and Max Weber's sociology of religion. It both
uncovers their gender-blind approach and makes use of their insights
in view of feminist sociological theory of religion.
Erickson's work is in fact an eminent contribution to such a theory.
University of Münster