Passions play an important role in economy, politics and the media. Recent discussions of the economy, for instance, do no longer hesitate to stress the importance of a passion like envy functioning as a driving force in this field. Also the world of advertising illustrates the impor- tance of passions in the economy. Modern forms of politics, on the contrary, claimed to be de- tached from passions and to rely solely on rationality. Recent developments since the end of the cold war, however, have clearly challenged this self-understanding of modern politics. Not even politics can escape the world of passions. In our days, both the economy and politics de- pend on the media, another example of a highly passionate realm. Passions also have an important religious dimension. One of the central questions of any great religion is how to deal with passions. This book offers an interdisciplinary approach to the phenomenon of passions in the fields of economy, politics, and the media, drawing on René Girard's mimetic theory as a common focusing lens. It promotes a deeper understanding of the religious dimensions of capitalism, the contemporary return of religion to politics and the religious implications of modern mass media.
Wolfgang Palaver is professor of Catholic social teaching at the University of Innsbruck (Austria) and executive secretary of the "Colloquium on Violence & Religion". His main re- search comprises Thomas Hobbes, Carl Schmitt, democracy and theology, political economy and globalization. His publications include the new comprehensive introduction into the work of René Girard, René Girards mimetische Theorie (2nd ed. 2004), as well as Die mythischen Quellen des Politischen: Carl Schmitts Freund-Feind-Theorie (1998), Vom Fluch und Segen der Sündenböcke: Raymund Schwager zum 60. Geburtstag (1995 with J. Niewiadomski) and Politik und Religion bei Thomas Hobbes. Eine Kritik aus der Sicht der Theorie René Girards (1991). Petra Steinmair-Pösel is research assistant at the Department of Systematic Theology, Uni- versity of Innsbruck. Her current research focuses on the revision of the concept of grace in the light of Dramatic Theology. Apart from the further development of Dramatic Theology her main research deals with mimetic theory and its applications.