The Fundamentalist Mindset: Psychological Perspectives on Religion, Violence, and History

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OUP USA, May 27, 2010 - Philosophy - 274 pages
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This penetrating book sheds light on the psychology of fundamentalism, with a particular focus on those who become extremists and fanatics. What accounts for the violence that emerges among some fundamentalist groups? The contributors to this book identify several factors: a radical dualism, in which all aspects of life are bluntly categorized as either good or evil; a destructive inclination to interpret authoritative texts, laws, and teachings in the most literal of terms; an extreme and totalized conversion experience; paranoid thinking; and an apocalyptic world view. After examining each of these concepts in detail, and showing the ways in which they lead to violence among widely disparate groups, these engrossing essays explore such areas as fundamentalism in the American experience and among jihadists, and they illuminate aspects of the same psychology that contributed to such historical crises as the French Revolution, the Nazi movement, and post-Partition Hindu religious practice.
 

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Contents

Introduction
3
WHAT IS THE FUNDAMENTALIST MINDSET?
9
MOTIVATIONS FOR VIOLENCE
45
CHRISTIAN AND AMERICAN CONTEXTS
89
GLOBAL AND HISTORICAL CONTEXTS
137
A Fundamentalist Mindset?
216
Notes
221
Index
265
Copyright

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About the author (2010)


Charles B. Strozier is Professor of History and Criminal Justice at the City University of New York, John Jay College, and a practicing psychoanalyst.
David M. Terman is a psychiatrist and psychoanalyst and Director of the Chicago Institute for Psychoanalysis.
James W. Jones is Professor of Religion and adjunct Professor of Clinical Psychology at Rutgers University.
Katharine A. Boyd is a doctoral student at John Jay College, City University of New York.

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