Title

Unmasking and disclosure as sociological practices : contrasting modes for understanding religious and other beliefs

Document Type

Journal article

Source Publication

Journal of Sociology

Publication Date

12-1-2012

Volume

48

Issue

4

First Page

380

Last Page

396

Keywords

Bourdieu, disclosure, Durkheim, false consciousness, Freud, James, Marx, Nietzsche, Runciman, social theorists, tertiary understanding, unmasking, Weber

Abstract

Unmasking is a recurrent feature of modern sociology and cultural criticism. While false consciousness is imputed by intellectuals to religious groups and to certain social classes, unmasking is, or claims to be, a corrective performed by intellectuals themselves. Unmasking supposes that enlightened enquirers are able to help the less rational to understand their real interests; a type of exposure, it offers a cognitive tool of emancipation. This article (a) examines unmasking; and (b) contrasts it with an approach to understanding that we call disclosure. Our claim is that disclosure is more attuned to the full keyboard of social action, and less demeaning of its players, than unmasking is. Disclosure attempts to grasp what actions are like for those who enact them. Nothing has been more often or consistently unmasked and with more venom than religion. It is the main example explored in this article.

DOI

10.1177/1440783312458225

Print ISSN

14407833

E-ISSN

17412978

Publisher Statement

Copyright © 2012 Sage Publications

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Recommended Citation

Baehr, P., & Gordon, D. (2012). Unmasking and disclosure as sociological practices: Contrasting modes for understanding religious and other beliefs. Journal of Sociology, 48(4), 380-396. doi: 10.1177/1440783312458225