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Kocku von Stuckrad
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(3,158 words)

The article argues that “action” is one of the basic categories in our attempt to understand human behavior, and thus also in the study of religion. “Action” is differentiated from “behavior” or “happening” by the necessary inclusion of intentionality and agency in its interpretational setting. The article sketches the history of the concept in philosophical and sociological theory, focusing on Max Weber, Talcott Parsons, and Niklas Luhmann in particular. It then identifies the often overlooked importance of the category “action” in recent theoretical approaches in the study of religion, notably in rational choice theory of religion and in ritual and performance studies.” ⸙

Vocabulary for the Study of Religion Online

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