Description : In an epoch in which religion has explicitly and sometimes violently returned to the forefront of the global public scene, the process of secularization that has fundamentally marked Western and particularly European societies demands attention and analysis. This book, written from a sociological perspective, takes up that challenge. The author distinguishes three levels of secularization. Societal secularization which is a typical consequence of the processes of modernity, and of programmes of «laïcisation» promoted by political parties. Individual secularization that is manifested in the decline of church commitment; occurring as individuals re-compose their personal beliefs and practices in a «religion à la carte»; and as the individual's meaning system becomes compartmentalized and religion is separated from other areas of life. A third level, organizational secularization, covers the incidence of the adaptation of religious bodies to secularized society. The entire work is marked by meticulous description and analysis of numerous theoretical and empirical studies, and by due recognition of the intricate relationship between levels of secularization and the impact of various actors in the many conflicts over religion's roles.
Description : ‘Secularization’ sounds simple, a decline in the power of religion. Yet, the history of the term is controversial and multi-faceted; it has been useful to both religious believers and non-believers and has been deployed by scholars to make sense of a variety of aspects of cultural and social change. This book will introduce the reader to this variety and show how secularization bears on the contemporary politics of religion. Secularization addresses the sociological classics’ ambivalent accounts of the future of religion, later and more robust sociological claims about religious decline, and the most influential philosophical secularization thesis, which says that the dominant ideas of modern thought are in fact religious ones in a secularized form. The book outlines some shortcomings of these accounts in the light of historical inquiry and comparative sociology; examines claims that some religions are ‘resistant to secularization’; and analyzes controversies in the politics of religion, in particular over the relationship between Christianity and Islam and over the implicitly religious character of some modern political movements. By giving equal attention to both sociological and philosophical accounts of secularization, and equal weight to ideas, institutions, and practices, this book introduces complicated ideas in a digestible format. It will appeal to students and scholars interested in making unusual connections within sociology, anthropology, philosophy, theology, and political theory.
Description : Introduced to social scientific audiences by Max Weber, the concept of secularization has had a major influence on the way in which religion has been understood in the West since the 1960s, but since the late 1980s both its predictive and descriptive adequacy has been seriously challenged. The Secularization Debate is a collection of essays by prominent American and European scholars that forcefully delineates the critical issues pivotal to the hotly contested concept of secularization and its continued relevance in the postmodern era.
Description : Scholars from various disciplines worked together to present the first interdisciplinary book to address the issue of Islam, secularism and globalization. The book has a clear structure which represents its interdisciplinary approach: the first section addresses the philosophical and historical discussion about Islam and secularism; the second section discusses the topic from an ethnographical and social anthropological viewpoint; and the final section addresses Islam, secularism and globalization from a political viewpoint. This unique collection not only offers innovative research and new material, it also provides empirical examples and theoretical debates, and could therefore also be used as a textbook for courses on Islam, globalization, anthropology, politics, sociology and law.
Description : Two of the worlds great contemporary thinkers--theologian and churchman Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, and Jrgen Habermas, philosopher and Neo-Marxist social critic--discuss and debate aspects of secularization, and the role of reason and religion in a free society. These insightful essays are the result of a remarkable dialogue between the two men, sponsored by the Catholic Academy of Bavaria, a little over a year before Joseph Ratzinger was elected pope.
Description : Drawing on David Martin's 'Cultural Defence Paradigm' which expects secularization to be inhibited in cases where religion serves as a carrier of national identity, Patterns of Secularization offers a comparative study highlighting the limits of existing interpretations and identifies variations within the cultural defence paradigm.
Description : "Smith provides the reader with a powerful new framework for assessing the secularization of American public life, including a wealth of new insights and historical evidence on religion in American institutions. For those interested in religion's changing role in the public arena, this is essential reading, certain to have tremendous impact."--Roger Finke, Professor of Sociology and Religious Studies at Penn State and coauthor of Acts of Faith: Explaining the Human Side of Religion "Finally a much welcome sociological study of secularization that eschews assumptions of inevitability in favor of flesh-and-blood institutional histories, from the fields of education, journalism, and law to science, medicine, and even religion itself."--Ronald L. Numbers, Hilldale and William Coleman Professor of the History of Science and Medicine, University of Wisconsin-Madison, and author of The Creationists "Secularization has long been talked about as if it were the inevitable product of vast impersonal forces operating above our heads. In this fascinating collection, the authors descend from the stratosphere to investigate the power struggles that actually brought about secularization in education, law, and journalism. A wonderful, arresting book that gives secularization a human face."--Nicholas Wolterstorff, author of John Locke and the Ethics of Belief "This book is sure to evoke debate, agreement, contention, and future research by historians, sociologists, political scientists, and scholars of American religion."--Rhys H. Williams, editor, Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion
Description : Religion is an undiscovered country for much of the secular academy, which remains deeply ambivalent about it as an object of study. On the one hand, secular scholars agree that it is time to take religion seriously. On the other, these same scholars persist in assuming that religion rests not on belief but on power and ideology. According to Vincent Pecora, the idea of the secular itself is the source of much of the contradiction and confusion in contemporary thought about religion. Pecora aims here to work through the paradoxes of secularization, which emerges in this book as an intractable problem for cultural criticism in the nation-states of the post-Enlightenment West. Secularization and Cultural Criticism examines the responses of a wide range of thinkers—Edward Said, Talal Asad, Jürgen Habermas, Walter Benjamin, Emile Durkheim, Carl Schmitt, Matthew Arnold, and Virginia Woolf, among others—to illustrate exactly why the problem of secularization in the study of society and culture should matter once again. Exploring the endemic difficulty posed by religion for the modern academy, Pecora makes sense of the value and potential impasses of secular cultural criticism in a global age.
Description : The question of religion, its contemporary and future significance and its role in society and state is currently perceived as an urgent one by many and is widely discussed within the public sphere. But it has also long been one of the core topics of the historically oriented social sciences. The immense stock of knowledge furnished by the history of religion and religious studies, theology, sociology and history has to be introduced into the public conscience today. This can promote greater awareness of the contemporary global religious situation and its links with politics and economics and counter rash syntheses such as the "clash of civilizations". This volume is concerned with the connections between religions and the social world and with the extent, limits, and future of secularization. The first part deals with major religious traditions and their explicit or implicit ideas about the individual, social and political order. The second part gives an overview of the religious situation in important geographical areas. Additional contributions analyze the legal organization of the relationship between state and religion in a global perspective and the role of the natural sciences in the process of secularization. The contributors are internationally renowned scholars like Winfried Brugger, Jose Casanova, Friedrich Wilhelm Graf, Hans Joas, Hans G. Kippenberg, Gudrun Kramer, David Martin, Eckart Otto and Rudolf Wagner.