All Generalizations are Bad: Postmodernism on Theories

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Abstract

The ramifications of postmodernism for theology have been discussed voluminously. I want to consider the ramifications of postmodernism for the social scientific study of religion, which above all means for theories of religion. Those ramifications are wholly negative: postmodernism opposes theories, and does so because it opposes generalizations. Objections to generalizations and thereby to theories in the social sciences long antedate the rise of postmodernism, but earlier objections are on modernist grounds. Postmodernism is oblivious to these criticisms and instead assumes that criticism begins with postmodernism itself Where at least some modernist criticisms are not easily answerable, all post-modern criticisms are easily answerable, for all of them rest on confusions about theorizing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)157-171
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of the American Academy of Religion
Volume74
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2006

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