DepositMythmaking and Social Formation in the Study of Early Christianity

Burton Mack has made a number of important contributions to the study of early Christianity. One of, if not the most significant of these contributions is his use of the analytical categories of mythmaking and social formation in his construction of a social theory of religion. The analysis of mythmaking and social formation in early Christianity brings a critical historical and sociological focus to the study of Christian origins by focusing on the literary aspects of ancient texts, and the social aspects of ancient people and groups, and the dialectical relationship between the two categories. This article reviews the uses and criticisms of the categories of mythmaking and social formation in the study of early Christianity: beginning with Mack’s work on a social theory of religion and his seminal study of the Gospel of Mark (A Myth of Innocence), and moving on to studies that have both taken up and critiqued Mack’s use of the terms.

MemberSandra Field

Dr Sandra Leonie Field is a political philosopher working at Yale-NUS College, Singapore. Her research investigates conceptions of political power and their implications for democratic theory. She approaches these themes through engagement with texts in the history of philosophy, especially Hobbes and Spinoza. More broadly, she teaches and is interested in political thought, theory, and philosophy, both historical and contemporary; moral philosophy, both Western and non-Western; and social theory.

DepositLa comunidad racional. El pensamiento de Zoran Đinđić durante la crisis de la ex Yugoslavia.

After the death of Josip Broz Tito and under a severe economic situation, the former Yugoslavia went through a deep political crisis during the 1980’s which would end up in the rise of nationalistic leaders and movements, and the country’s break-up by the beginning of the next decade. During that time, the concept of community, central for the theory of self-management socialism and for Yugoslav constitutionalism, became the object of some of the most interesting intellectual reflections. In this paper we will analyze some interventions by the liberal philosopher Zoran Đinđić. We will particularly focus on his critique of Yugoslav socialism and his reflection on the concept of political community, influenced by his reading of the works of Thomas Hobbes, as well as by systemic social theory.


“Race” offers a compelling study of ideas related to race throughout history. Its breadth of coverage, both geographically and temporally, provides readers with an expansive, global understanding of the term from the classical period onwards: Intersections of Race and Gender // Race and Social Theory Identity // Ethnicity, and Immigration // Whiteness // Legislative and Judicial Markings of Difference // Race in South Africa, Israel, East Asia, Asian America // Blackness in a Global Context // Race in the History of Science // Critical Race Theory

MemberCarmen Celestini

My research is predominately in the field religion and social theory, specifically in the field of improvisational conspiracy, the overlapping belief systems of apocalyptic Christian thought and conspiracy theories, and the impact of these beliefs on the American political system. In my doctoral work, my focus has been on the John Birch Society of the 1950s and 1960s and how their form of improvisational conspiracism is linked to contemporary right-wing mobilization. I also have an interest in religion and pop culture, specifically within subversive or marginalized religious movements.

DepositGeorges Sorel’s Diremption: Hegel, Marxism and Anti-Dialectics

Georges Sorel’s use of the term diremption to describe his method has long been found obscure. This paper shows that the term was associated with Hegel, and that interpreting it in this light can help us make sense of Sorel’s method. Sorel, this is to say, in his revision of Marxism and his social theory more generally, was engaging specifically with Hegelian philosophy. In addition to clarifying Sorel’s method, this perspective allows us both to place Sorel more clearly in his fin-de-siècle context and to draw connections between his work and more recent marxisant theory.

MemberIan Cummins

I am a Senior Lecturer in Social Work at the University of Salford. My main research revolves around the experiences of people with mental health problems in the Criminal Justice system. This includes all areas of the CJS but I have focused on policing and mental illness.  I argue the CJS has become, in many incidences, the default provider of mental health care. In the area of social theory, I am influenced by Wacquant’s analysis of  processes of advanced marginality.and the development of the penal state. I have used has Jonathan Simon’s notion of “governing through crime”  to the analysis of the history of community care. I am exploring social work’s response to poverty. I am working with colleagues to explore societal obsession with violent crime. Like all right thinking people, I am slightly obsessed with the Wire.

DepositSocial Imaginaries and the Theory of the Normative Utterance

From Charles Taylor to Marcel Gauchet, theorists of the social imaginary have given us new ways to talk about the shared structures of meanings and practices of the West. Theorists of this group have argued against the narrow horizons of meaning that are deployed by deliberative political theories in developing their basic normative concepts and principles, providing an alternative to the oscillation between the constructivism and the realism. Theorists of the imaginary have enabled us to think about normatively charged collective imaginaries as logically prior to the construction of normative principles. What theorists of the imaginary have not done is make specific connections between the ontological background of social imaginaries and the normative utterance. This lacuna has left them vulnerable to the charges of ‘normative deficit’ and vagueness that Habermas and others famously make against philosophies of ‘world disclosure’. This article develops a conception of the normative utterance that enables us to reason through social imaginaries. In such reasoning, claims are not expressed in the propositional form of the Rawlsian or Habermasian justification, but through a complex engagement with the worldhood that informs normative judgments.