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Politics of New Atheism (Hardcover) (Stuart McAnulla & Steven Kettell & Marcus Schulzke)

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This book seeks to account for and analyse the political aspects of the ‘new atheism’. It is best known as a literary and media phenomenon which has resulted in the widespread discussion of the anti-religious arguments of authors such as Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris and Christopher Hitchens. Yet the new atheism has strongly political dimensions and this book offers an analysis of the politics of new atheism that is informed by insights from political science and political theory.

The book aims to:

  • Understand new atheism in political terms, demonstrating that where forms of atheism emerge they often have a political character
  • Interpret the New Atheism, proposing that it does not simply represent a type of modernism, but that it also incorporates postmodern features
  • Examine the strategies, tactics and practical campaigning of new atheists, including the dilemmas their stances have raised for secularist groups in the UK and US
  • Critique political responses to New Atheism, arguing that various Marxist, feminist and conservative authors often mischaracterise new atheism as a form of extremism
  • Discuss political theorists and moral philosophers who have criticised new atheism
  • Show that there is good empirical evidence to substantiate some of the main claims new atheists make regarding the security threats posed by forms of religion.

The book seeks to highlight both what may be problematic about new atheist politics and what may have resonance and be worth acknowledging positively. It will be of great interest to undergraduates, postgraduates, researchers and academics in areas such as the new atheism, political atheism, secularism, non-religion, and secular-religious tensions. In addition the book may be bought and read by a number of lay activists or religious practitioners.

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