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Who Owns Religion?Scholars and Their Publics in the Late Twentieth Century$
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Laurie L. Patton

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780226649344

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226676036.001.0001

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Religions, Audiences, and the Idea of the Public Sphere

Religions, Audiences, and the Idea of the Public Sphere

(p.49) 2 Religions, Audiences, and the Idea of the Public Sphere
Who Owns Religion?

Laurie L. Patton

University of Chicago Press

This chapter considers cultural conflicts in light of theories of the public sphere. It points out the moments of challenges to the Habermasian idea of the public sphere. In the discussion of Habermas and his critics, the chapter pursues a theoretical assessment of the idea of the public sphere and its relevance to controversies and scandals in the study of religion. It points out the ways in which Habermas's critics make the public sphere a multiple and complex space. In addition, the chapter describes the distinction between the concept of a rule-governed public “sphere” and that of a less contractual, more chaotic public “space”. This is what Habermas calls the “wild sphere”. This chapter also discusses the role of history and sexuality in the debates conducted as part of a shared conversation between members of a religious community and scholars.

Keywords:   cultural conflict, public sphere, Habermas, public space, religious community, controversy, scandal, wild sphere

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