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Anthropology of secularism

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Recent debates on this topic have been heavily shaped by two paradigms: Asad's deconstructivism and Taylor's Catholic/Hegelian revisionism. This article outlines the arguments of each but frames them within the longer history of arguments that make claims for the reality of secularization and alternate sources for claims that “the secular” is a historically constructed category, including arguments from radical theology and (differently) in the anthropology of India. It is argued that implicit claims for the hierarchical ordering of reality in modernity, in which the political is seen as more real than the religious, continue to create disjunctures in the range of debate that new ethnography has the opportunity to address.

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