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Publication - Professor Gregor McLennan

    Religious Returns

    Marxism, Postsecularism, Theology


    McLennan, G, 2020, ‘Religious Returns: Marxism, Postsecularism, Theology’. in: Beverley Skeggs, Alberto Toscana (eds) The Sage Handbook of Marxism. SAGE Publications Ltd, London


    In this chapter, I work with the rubric of postsecularism to revisit central questions about Marxism and religion. These fell into abeyance from the 1970s to the 2000s, but have returned, not least due to the much-remarked ‘return of religion’ itself. Following framing reflections on Marx and on postsecularism, I provide four categories of analysis – Autonomy, Anti-secularism, Religionization, Theologism – to schematize some current options, engaging with authors who I take to exemplify those positions. My overall stance, streamed through the analysis, is, first, that the postsecular climate in social theory, especially the widespread disillusionment with straight secularism, open ups interesting ways of tracking the pluralization of Marxist thought, and its increasing overlap with non-Marxist perspectives. However, second, Marxism loses all shape and point without a certain naturalism and historicism, anchors that dictate epistemological scepticism when it comes to full-on assertions of religious worldviews and their subjective-political resonance.

    Full details in the University publications repository