As long as there have been sociological studies of religion, the question of defining different (organisational) forms of religion has been an essential task.For example, Max Weber distinguished between in order to understand and classify different forms of religion (cf. However, these terms, although they might have been considered as ›objective‹ sociological terms at Weber’s time, nowadays have become value-laden and therefore problematic.The last section, finally, puts the new definition into a wider context of globalisation by taking the theory of World Society (Niklas Luhmann/Rudolf Stichweh) into account.
Then we will shed some light on the rather confusing common definitions of NRM to suggest a narrow but more precise alternative.Finally, putting these aspects together, we shall show the role of NRMs as globalised religion as well as globalisers.For example politics provides binding decisions, law distinguishes legal from illegal actions and economy operates the accumulation of different forms of capital.As one of several different function systems, in a completely new form: society no longer is integrated by religion as it had been in pre-modern times or by morality as Emile Durkheim (Durkheim 1984, Luhmann 2008) thought it was.Rudolf Stichweh, focusing on the political and science system (Stichweh 2003c, Stichweh 2003b), provides many examples and analyses of processes of globalisation of these function systems.
The role of religion, however, is almost completely neglected.More precisely, the thesis holds that 1) religion must be seen as a global function system within the World Society and 2) that NRMs are not only products but at the same time crucial to the momentum of the process of globalisation of religion.In order to show this, we shall firstly provide a short introduction to globalisation from a systems theoretical perspective.However, surprisingly enough, these phenomena are rarely put into a greater context of globalisation theories (with a few exceptions, e.g. Religion remains discussed as somehow outside of society and opposed or only related to globalisation.In this essay, however, we shall argue that, in fact, there is a close interrelationship between the rise of new forms of religion and the globalisation of society.Im letzten Teil wird die Rolle der so neu definierten NRMs als ›globalised globaliser‹ für das weltgesellschaftliche Funktionssystem Religion evaluiert (Niklas Luhmann/Rudolf Stichweh).