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This book presents an interpretive, macro-historical, and sociological account of martyrdom.
Moving away from the notion of martyrdom as an object of individual behavior and seeing it instead as a significant cultural work performed by communities in the wake of a violent death, it provides a novel interpretation of Western political and religious history.
In addition to thus redressing the disproportionate attention given to the concept's relationship to Islam, the author offers a new perspective on two defining historical processes: secularization and the rise of modern sovereignty in the form of the nation-state.
An innovative analysis of the role of sacrifice in contemporary culture, which constitutes a timely critique of long-dominant theories of disenchantment and the privatization of religion, The Ultimate Sacrifice will appeal to sociologists and social theorists with interests in religion, politics, and the connection between the two.
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