Secularization is the process of
organizing society or aspects of social life around non-religious values or principles.
Secularization is linked closely
to Max Weber's concept of a growing disenchantment of
the world as the sphere of the magical, sacred and religious retreats in cultural
significance before the driving force of rationalization
of culture and social institutions powered by emergent capitalism.
Secularization: Controversy about the process of secularization has consituted the
centrepiece of the sociology of religion.
The major sections of the paper
are concern the explication of the terms in which the secularization controversy has
developed among sociologists and sociologically-inclined theologians.
Enforced Secularization -
Spontaneous Revival? Religious Belief, Unbelief, Uncertainty and Indifference in East
and West European Countries 19911998 Secularization. - Heiner
Meulemann - Universität zu Köln, European Sociological Review 20:47-61 (2004)
The degree of secularization
should increase belief against the three remaining options, unbelief against uncertainty
and indifference, and uncertainty against indifference. The paper asks if the enforced
form of secularization of East European countries has the same effects even if the degree
of secularization is controlled, and if these developments are reversed after the demise
of communism. In 1991, the degree and the form of secularization affect the answers to the
religious question as expected. Up to 1998, the effects of the degree and the form of
secularization persist. The effects of the degree and the form of secularization do not
shrink if education and age of individuals are controlled, and do shrink but remain
significant if additionally religious practice is controlled.
Secularization: Taking Philosophy of Education Seriously - E.P. Brandon
Caribbean Journal of Education, 19, 227-238 (1997) Secularization.
Abstract: (a) educational activity, as against perversions or distortions of education,
must leave space for the possibility of there being good reasons for what it presents for
acceptance by a learner; (b) necessarily religious views cannot be acquired without a
"leap of faith" - i.e. accepting something for which there is no good reason; so
(c) if we restricted ourselves to educational activity in bringing up the young we would
soon find ourselves in a purely secular world.
Secularization of Public
Administration - Thomas D. Lynch, Richard Omdal and Peter L. Cruise
Louisiana State University, Golden Gate University
This article examines the history of values in public administration research and
questions secularization with its removal of linkage between spiritual wisdom and public
values. That public administration should not narrow its choice of values to only
secularization but should use the full range of human inquiry available to us, including
the various Holy Scriptures from not only the Jewish and Christian traditions but other
traditions as well, such as the Hindu, Buddhist, and Islamic. - Journal of Public
Administration Research and Theory, Vol. 7, No. 3: 473-488 (1997)
The Catholic Bishops Conferences of the United States and France - Engaging
Immigration as a Public Issue
Margarita Mooney, Princeton University - American Behavioral Scientist, Vol. 49, No.
The secularization paradigm in the social sciences led many scholars to presume that
religious organizations no longer had a public role in society.
Secularization and the
Role of Religion in State Institutions - Inger Furseth
Social Compass, Vol. 50, No. 2, 191-202 (2003)
This study concludes that the role of the Church of Norway in military and prison
chaplaincies is a clear illustration of the continuing intertwining of religion and state
Church attendance in Spain (1930-1992): Gender differences and secularization
Pablo Branas - Garza University of Jaen IESA-CSIC, Spain
Abstract: Time series analysis is performed to examine religious changes in two parallel
ways: first, to determine both male and female church-attendance trends and second, to
study the gender effect, that is, differences between males and females regarding church
Is Northern Ireland Abnormal? An Extension of the Sociological Debate on
Religion in Modern Britain
Claire Mitchell, Queens University Belfast - Sociology, Vol. 38, No. 2, (2004)
This article measures secularization along Casanovas three dimensions (1994):
religious differentiation, decline and privatization. It finds that Northern Ireland has,
in common with Britain, high levels of religious differentiation, grey areas of religious
belief and little convinced secularism.
Secularization, Deviance and Delinquency among Israeli Arab Villagers
S. Giora Shoham, Esther Segal, Giora Rahav
Human Relations, Vol. 28, No. 7, 661-674 (1975)
Many Israeli Arabs are facing severe culture-conflicts as a consequence of two social
processes. There is the increasing frequency of contact with Jews, and there is the
process of rapid modernization which involves secularization, disorganization of
traditional social structures and changing norms.
Losing my religion: a dynamic analysis of leaving the church in the
Ariana Need and Nan Dirk De Graaf - European Sociological Review 12:87-99 1996
We examine the influence of individual attributes and contextual characteristics (cohort
and period effects of secularization) on the risk of leaving a faith, using life-event
data from the Dutch Family Survey 19921993.
The results show that education, parental education, and marrying a non-religious spouse
significantly increase the risk of becoming unchurched. The results suggest a period
effect: the current level of secularization increases the risk of becoming unchurched.
DYNAMICS OF THE RELIGIOUS ECONOMY
EXIT, VOICE AND DENOMINATIONAL SECULARIZATION
James D. Montgomery - Rationality and Society, Vol. 8, No. 1, 81-110 (1996)
A dynamic model of the religious economy. In the model, individuals with higher incomes
prefer less strict denominations. If individuals remain within their parents'
denominations, intergenerational social mobility may
alter denominational class composition, inducing change in denominational strictness.
State Welfare Spending and Religiosity - A Cross-National Analysis
Anthony Gill, Rationality and Society, Vol. 16, No. 4, 399-436 (2004)
What accounts for cross-national variation in religiosity as
measured by church attendance and non-religious rates? Examining answers from both
secularization theory and the religious economy perspective.
Paracelsus Confronts the Saints: Miracles, Healing and the Secularization of Magic
CHARLES WEBSTER, All Souls College Oxford - Social History of Medicine 1995 8(3):403-421;
The sixteenth and seventeenth centuries witnessed an erosion of the role played by the
church in healing. Magical practices mediated by the church were replaced by the resources
of medicine. This represented an important cultural development and it is often regarded
as a manifestation of increasing secularization, the decline of magic and rise of science.
By eliminating the miraculous intervention of saints and promoting the secularization of
magic, Paracelsus was contributing to one of the important cultural changes associated
with the Reformation.
Medicalization and Secularization: the Jewish Ritual Bath as a Problem of Hygiene
THOMAS SCHLICH, Institut für Geschichte der Medizin der Robert Bosch Stiftung Straussweg
Social History of Medicine 1995 8(3):423-442
In the 1820s and 1840s the Jewish Ritual bath in Germany was criticized on the basis of
medical arguments. Associated with this critique were demands for a change in the
traditional Jewish way of life in general, especially as concerning the Jewish religion.
The new role assigned to religion can be seen as part of a process of
secularization. An historical investigation of the debate on the Jewish ritual
bath illuminates the way in which medicalization and secularization were different aspects
of the same process of the attribution of complementary circumscribed spheres of medicine
The Roman Catholic Church and the Immigration Issue
The Relative Secularization of Political Life in Spain
Xabier Itçaina, CERVL-CNRS, Institut dEtudes Politiques de Bordeaux, France
American Behavioral Scientist, Vol. 49, No. 11, 1471-1488 (2006)
The article provides significant insights into the relative secularization of
immigration-related politics in Spain and Southern Europe. Catholic activism
indicates that effective withdrawal of the church as a dominant social institution has not
signified the demise of its influence on the political scene.
Islam and Secularization
Source: Asian Journal of Social Science, Volume 33, Number 3, 2005, pp. 438-448(11)
In nineteenth and the twentieth century thought in institutions in the Middle East, for
example, in the fields of law, education, administration and mass culture, there was
experienced an irreversible process of change towards secularity. This process was
facilitated by the co-existence and intersection of the religious and the secular. The
dichotomy of the religious and the secular emerged within popularized fundamentalism,
which itself has to be seen as a fruit of the secularization process encouraging religion
to turn into a matter of politics and "social engineering".
Meulemann H., University of Cologne - European Societies, Volume 2, Number 2, June 2000.
Uncertainty and indifference are explored as responses to secularization beyond unbelief
in Western and Eastern European countries with low and high degrees of secularization. The
analysis is guided by three hypotheses. First, secularization should increase unbelief and
indifference strongly, but uncertainty less strongly. Second, the self-induced
secularization in Western European countries should produce more uncertainty, the enforced
secularization in the Eastern European countries more unbelief and indifference. Third,
the relation between religiosity and uncertainty should be negative in less secularized
and positive in more secularized countries. The range of secularization hypothesis is
confirmed for both beliefs on the aggregate as well as the individual level of analysis.
However, the form of and the modified secularization hypothesis are conformed for the
belief in God only.
Secularization and Aging in Britain: Does Family Formation Cause Greater
James R. Tilley, Nuffield College, Oxford
Using data from the British Election Studies and the British Household Panel Study, this
research note examines how family formation factors, such as marriage and childrearing,
affect church attendance in Britain. Debates in the United States have centered on how,
first, apparent aging effects could be due to family formation or be evidence for cohort differences, and, second, how family formation effects are
Secularization and Tolerance
Giorgio Spini1University of Florence, Faculty of Political Science, Via Laura, 48, 50121
Abstract: In this paper, starting from Condorcet's discussion on progress, the author
analyzes the relationship between the decline of religions, the end of State paternalism
SOCIAL CHANGE AND RELIGION: THINKING BEYOND
Charles L. Harper is Professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at
Bryan LeBeau currently serves as Chair of the Department of History, Coordinator of the
American Studies Program.
In different ways classical social thinkers of the late 19th and early 20th century all
thought that religion would either disappear or become progressively attenuated with the
expansion of modern institutions, resulting in a "secularization thesis" aptly
captured in the title of Freud's famous The Future of an Illusion (see Durkheim,
1912/1965; Freud, 1957; Marx and Engels, 1848/1858; Tylor, 1871; Weber, 1904/1958:182; and
Giddens, 1990:207). For those expecting its attenuation to accompany modernization, religion remains surprisingly vibrant
and socially salient. It is in parts of Western Europe where individual religiosity has
been radically transformed that the secularization thesis seems to work the best.
Secularization, Religiosity, and the United States Constitution
Christopher L. Eisgruber
Indiana Journal of Global Legal Studies, Summer 2006, Vol. 13, No. 2, Pages 445-472
This article draws upon leading works in the sociology of religion to assess what I shall
call "the secularization claim" regarding the United States. It endeavors, in
particular, to clarify the possible meanings of "secularization," and then to
use these conceptual refinements to examine what sort of evidence exists that the United
States has been secularized. Though it is not possible to falsify every version of the
secularization claim, there is little evidence to support it, especially in its most
prominent and politically relevant variations.
The Secularization of South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission in Mike
Nicol's The Ibis Tapestry
Michael Titlestad, Mike Kissack
Indiana Journal of Global Legal Studies, Winter 2006, Vol. 37, No. 4, Pages 48-67
In this article we read Mike Nicol's The Ibis Tapestry (1998) as an intertextual novel
that brings a postmodern inflection to its interrogation of the principles and practices
of the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Using the distant mirror of the
life, work, and death of Christopher Marlowe, the novel unravels aspects of the ethical
ideology and epistemological framing of the Commission in a
way that, we argue, amounts to its secularization.
Is there a Place for the Sacred in Organizations and their Development
Rajen K. Gupta, Indian Institute of Management, Lucknow
Journal of Human Values, Vol. 2, No. 2, 149-158 (1996)
Secularization of life in general is widely seen as a direct consequence of European
enlightenment and the process of modernization. The paper contests this thesis of societal
secularization through a historical analysis of ideas in the Anglo-Saxon Christian parts
of Europe and North America.
Secularization in a strong religious society: the case of Turkey
Tahirli, Taleh, Department: Linköping University, Department of Management and
There is a widespread belief among many researchers that Islam and secularization is
incompatible. Obviously, in the Eastern world and in Muslim countries in particular, the
problematic relationship between religion and democracy is still shows itself intensively.
The current lack of democracy in most Muslim countries derives in part from this mindset
contending that Islam is incompatible with secularization. So the application of concept
secularization to studies of the Muslim countries Middle East has often been
more problematic than enlightening. The present study continues the discussion of the
compatibility of secularization and Islamic religion bringing to the fore the case of
modern Turkish politics.
Is Secularization a Discontinuous Process?
Daniel Rigney, Richard Machalek, Jerry D. Goodman
Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, Vol. 17, No. 4 (Dec., 1978), pp. 381-387
Wuthnow (1976) contends that secularization in the United States has been a
"discontinuous" process marked by dramatic fluctuations in religious commitment.
This brief paper undertakes an empirical assessment
of the discontinuity thesis. When Wuthnow's indicators of religious commitment are
expanded, refined, and reanalyzed, it is not clear that secularization has been
discontinuous during this century. The paper concludes with suggestions for further
investigation of this emerging issue in secularization theory.
The Case Secularization: A Rebuttal
FRANK J. LECHNER, Emory University
This article examines the main charges against secularization theory and finds them
wanting. Contrary to the recent arguments of various critics, there is a reasonably solid
body of secularization theory with valid historical content; secularization cannot be
explained away as either institutionalization or transformation; it is neither a
self-limiting process nor reversed by fundamentalist movements; and while secularization
theory may be of limited use in current macrosociological research on global change, it is
as yet far from irrelevant. Until it is more solidly refuted, secularization theory
remains a valuable part of the theoretical arsenal of the sociology of religion.
Secularization as Declining Religious Authority
MARK CHAVES, The University of Notre Dame
Secularization is most productively understood not as declining religion, but as the
declining scope of religious authority. A focus on religious authority is more consistent
with recent developments in social theory than is a preoccupation with religion; draws on
and develops what is best in the secularization literature; and reclaims a neglected
Weberian insight concerning the sociological analysis of religion.
Individualization, identity formation and the secularization of ethical
Individualization causes new processes of identity development both on a micro-level
(individual) and on a meso-level (organisations, institutions). These processes differ
from earlier processes of identity formulations: focusing less on philosophically and
theologically elaborated credos and related types of statements, and focusing more on
acting, codes of conduct and other concrete issues. Even in churches there is a remarkable
shift of focus, from pure theological debates about the final thruth to practical
Religious Advocacy in Secular Society: A Neo-Secularization Perspective
David Yamane, University of Wisconsin-Madison
What is the role of religious advocacy in the legislative process in Wisconsin, and how
does the secularity of modern social structure constrain and enable the involvement of
religious advocates in that process? An answer to this is pursued in light of current
debates over the concept of secularization in sociology. The work mounts a
defense of a neo-secularization paradigm in which secularization is conceived of not as
involving a unidirectional movement toward a decline in religion, but as entailing a
double-movement: institutional differentiation causes a decline in the scope of religious
authority over the political sphere.
Secularization Troubles: The Sociology of Liberal Protestantism
Christopher Hinkle, Harvard Divinity School
Contemporary resistance among both sociologists and theologians to greater engagement
between the disciplines reflects an intellectual differentiation associated with
The Great Secularization Experiment: An Analysis of Communism's Attempt to
Eliminate Religion - Froese, P.
I provide a comparison of many different cases to create a complex explanation of how
different religious groups and historical traditions responded to the religious laws of
communism. Crucial to this endeavor is my theoretical framework which seeks to predict
when religious and secular ideologies come into conflict and which will prevail.
Trends in de katholieke godsdienstigheid eind 20ste eeuw: België vergeleken met
West - en Centraal-Europese landen, Tijdschrift voor Sociologie, 24 (1), 9-36. -
Karel Dobbelaere (2003)
Beginning with a description of Belgian trends in weekly mass attendance, participation in
rites of passage and acceptance of Catholic beliefs, this essay compares these trends with
data from other West-European countries in order to establish whether Belgian trends are
particular to that country or are rather similar to trends in other countries. To enable
us to explain the trends, two prominent current theories in the sociology of religion, Rational Choice Theory and Secularization Theory,
are used to analyse data on Catholics and former Catholics from eleven West European and
Central European countries collected in the frame of the Religious and Moral Pluralism
The Religious and the
Secular: Studies in Secularization by David Martin
Suzanne Gwiazda, Church History, Vol. 39, No. 2 (Jun., 1970).