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On the relevance of small nations. Religion and politics in S.N. Eisenstadt's multiple modernities paradigm

Nations and Nationalism

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--- - |2 Abstract In recent years, the paradigm of multiple modernities has spurred a growing interest in theoretical, empirical and comparative studies. Among these, the relationships between religious traditions and social dynamics have received particular attention. Counter to evolutionary accounts of modernisation processes, Eisenstadt studied the persisting and evolving links between religion, politics and modernity in different national and civilisational settings. Indeed, the collective incidence of culture, of religion and of tradition was placed at the very heart of Eisenstadt's thought – hence the many ‘cultural programs of modernity'. It is the originality of this understanding of societies in modernity that we wish to underline and help explain by his interest for small nations and the religio‐political. I first advocate Eisenstadt's version of multiple modernities, highlighting the paradigm's specific knowledge interest. Secondly, we turn our attention to the often ignored importance of ‘Jewish civilisation' in Eisenstadt's thought. In so doing, we underline Israel's ‘smallness' and its characteristics as a ‘small nation'. Lastly, we stress the elective affinity between multiple modernities and small nations in the study of politics and religion. As is the case for small nations, religion constitutes the ‘other half of modernity', too rarely genuinely considered in (large nation) modernists' accounts. - 'Nations and Nationalism, Volume 24, Issue 4, Page 1076-1096, October 2018. '