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In this insightful examination of religions in their local and global context, the author shows how analyzing religion's social context helps us understand individuals' lives, social movements, national and ethnic politics, and widespread social changes. Well-researched and theory-based, the text is filled with intriguing anecdotes, empirical data, thought-provoking discussions of both mainstream and nonofficial religions, and historical and contemporary examples that illustrate the interplay between religion and society across cultures. This volume takes an integrated approach to examining religion and includes cross-cultural, historical, and methodological viewpoints. Readers will learn to identify the complex interactions between religion and societal contexts, as well as the ways in which these interactions shape individuals, communities, national politics, and the world.