Political theologies and development in Asia

Transcendence, sacrifice, and aspiration

Edited by Giuseppe Bolotta, Philip Fountain and R. Michael Feener

Political theologies and development in Asia


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Book Information

  • Format: Hardcover
  • ISBN: 978-1-5261-4940-4
  • Pages: 192
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £85.00
  • Published Date: August 2020
  • BIC Category: RELIGION / Religion, Politics & State, Asia, Reference, information & interdisciplinary subjects / Development studies, Anthropology, Religion & politics, POLITICAL SCIENCE / World / Asian, POLITICAL SCIENCE / Comparative Politics, Humanities / Religion & politics


This innovative and timely reassessment of political theology opens new lines of critical investigation into the intersections of religion and politics in contemporary Asia. Moving beyond a focus on the (post-) Christian West, this volume locates 'development' - conceptualised as a set of modern, transnational networks of ideas and practices of improvement that connect geographically disparate locations­­ - as a vital focal point for critical investigations into Asian political theologies.

Investigating the sacred dimensions of power through concepts of transcendence, sacrifice, victimhood, aspiration, and salvation, this collection demonstrates how European and Asian modernities are bound together through genealogical, institutional, and theo-political entanglements, as well as a long history of global interactions.

With contributions by leading anthropologists, sociologists, and political scientists, this volume brings new theoretical approaches into conversation with detailed empirical case studies grounded in modern Asia. In doing so, it offers a fresh and critical analysis of the ways in which political theology is imagined, materialised, and contested both within and beyond nation-states.


1 Transcendence, sacrifice, and aspiration: The political theology of development in Asia - Giuseppe Bolotta, Philip Fountain & R. Michael Feener
2 East of Westphalia: Shaping the body-politic via institutional charisma - Armando Salvatore
3 The yogic ethic and the spirit of development - Sunila S. Kale & Christian Lee Novetzke
4 Managing Karbala: Genealogies of Shia humanitarianism in Pakistan, England and Iraq - Till Mostowlansky
5 From blood, cast in cement: Materialising the political in Thailand - Eli Elinoff
6 The theopolitics of Art: Qur'anic objects and their publics in Indonesia - Kenneth M. George
7 Embodying the late King: Buddhist salvation and the sacrifice of sovereignty at a Bangkok mall - Edoardo Siani
8 Being alone: The political theology of the development citizen - Sam Han


Giuseppe Bolotta Assistant Professor (Research) in Anthropology at the Department of Theology and Religion at Durham University

Philip Fountain is a Senior Lecturer in Religious Studies at Victoria University of Wellington

R. Michael Feener is Professor at the Center for Southeast Asian Studies at Kyoto University, and an Associate Member of the History Faculty at the University of Oxford

Political theologies and development in Asia

Edited by Giuseppe Bolotta, Philip Fountain, R. Michael Feener

Hardcover £85.00 / $130.00

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