Berger's Dual-Citizenship Approach to Religion
Peter Berger's commitment to religious values is remarkable if you consider that he is also committed to the "impossible struggle" for "valuefree research concerning mankind's ultimate values." Against "heartless observers" or technocrats, Berger argues (using sociology of knowledge), that it is impossible to divorce oneself from the Lebenswelt, the world of values. Against ideologues, on the other hand, he contends that one's engagement to personal values need not prevent one from attempting to understand the world objectively. Against technocrats and ideologues Berger holds out an approach to religion which calls for the practice of "dual-citizenship." This approach enables one to be academically credible and responsive to the political, religious and scientific concerns of our epoch.
My thesis centers on Berger's dual-citizenship approach to religion. Guided by the task of determining whether Berger's dual-citizenship constitutes an "impossible struggle" or a workable model for the study of religion, the first part is devoted to explaining what dual citizenship entails. The second part tests the coherence of Berger's approach. Rather than proposing a new method for the study of religion, my thesis has the more modest aim of unpacking and testing an already established approach in the field, namely that of Peter Berger.