Fundamentalism – excellent essay

FUNDAMENTALISM.

A term used loosely to describe a reaction of (neo)traditional religion against the pressures of modernity, fundamentalism became a widespread topic of interest in the media and the academy during the last quarter of the twentieth century. According to many observers, fundamentalism is a worldwide phenomenon, arising in various societies with differing cultural backgrounds and experiences of modernity. The original understanding of fundamentalism, however, took shape in an American Protestant contexta context that initially informed popular and scholarly notions of fundamentalism and sometimes led to simplistic comparative interpretations. For this reason, among others, critics have questioned the viability of fundamentalism as a universal religious category, especially when applied to non-Western societies; and comparative studies of fundamentalism have been marked by self-conscious attempts to prove the existence of the phenomenon that they are presumably examining.

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