1 Αυγούστου 2016

Sacred and Secular: Religion and Politics Worldwide (Cambridge University Press).

Τις επόμενες δεκαετίες, η περίφημη ''secularization thesis'', η θέση ή θεωρία περί εκκοσμίκευσης, θα υποστεί πανωλεθρία, ή, για να το θέσω πιο κομψά, θα αναθεωρηθεί θεμελιωδώς και θα υποστεί ολοκληρωτικό «λίφτινγκ». Ήδη, εδώ και περίπου δύο δεκαετίες, έχει αρχίσει αυτή η αναθεώρηση, αποτελώντας μια από τις πλέον δυναμικές νέες θεματικές. Το συγκεκριμένο βιβλίο είναι μετριοπαθές και υπερασπίζεται-διασώζει την θέση-θεωρία, παραδέχεται όμως: There is no question that the traditional secularization thesis needs updating. Πλέον αυτή η άποψη είναι κοινά αποδεκτή. Πριν 10-15 χρόνια θεωρείτο απολύτως απαράδεκτη.


Sacred and Secular: Religion and Politics Worldwide
Pippa Norris, Ronald Inglehart



Seminal thinkers of the nineteenth century - Auguste Comte, Herbert Spencer, Emile Durkheim, Max Weber, Karl Marx, and Sigmund Freud - all predicted that religion would gradually fade in importance and cease to be significant with the emergence of industrial society. The belief that religion was dying became the conventional wisdom in the social sciences during most of the twentieth century. During the last decade, however, the secularization thesis has experienced the most sustained challenge in its long history. The traditional secularization thesis needs updating. Religion has not disappeared and is unlikely to do so.

Nevertheless, the concept of secularization captures an important part of what is going on. This book develops a theory of secularization and existential security. Sacred and Secular is essential reading for anyone interested in comparative religion, sociology, public opinion, political behavior, political development, social psychology, international relations, and cultural change.



Part I. Understanding Secularization:
1. The secularization debate
2. Measuring secularization
3. Comparing secularization worldwide

Part II. Case Studies of Religion and Politics:
4. The puzzle of secularization in the United States and Western Europe
5. A religious revival in post-communist Europe?
6. Religion and politics in the Muslim world

Part III. The Consequences of Secularization:
7. Religion, the Protestant ethic, and moral values
8. Religious organizations and social capital
9. Religious parties and electoral behavior

Part IV. Conclusions:
10. Secularization and its consequences
11. Re-examining the theory of existential security
12. Re-examining evidence for the security thesis.



THE SEMINAL SOCIAL thinkers of the nineteenth century - Auguste Comte, Herbert Spencer, Emile Durkheim, Max Weber, Karl Marx, and Sigmund Freud - all believed that religion would gradually fade in importance and cease to be significant with the advent of industrial society. They were far from alone; ever since the Age of the Enlightenment, leading figures in philosophy, anthropology, and psychology have postulated that theological superstitions, symbolic liturgical rituals, and sacred practices are the product of the past that will be outgrown in the modern era. The death of religion was the conventional wisdom in the social sciences during most of the twentieth century; indeed it has been regarded as the master model of sociological inquiry, where secularization was ranked with bureaucratization, rationalization, and urbanization as the key historical revolutions transforming medieval agrarian societies into modern industrial nations. As C.Wright Mills summarized this process: "Once the world was filled with the sacred — in thought, practice, and institutional form. After the Reformation and the Renaissance, the fortes of modernization swept across the globe and secularization, a corollary historical process, loosened the dominance of the sacred. In due course, the sacred shall disappear altogether except, possibly, in the private realm."

During the last decade, however, this thesis of the slow and steady death of religion has come under growing criticism; indeed, secularization theory is currently experiencing the most sustained challenge in its long history. Critics point to multiple indicators of religious health and vitality today, ranging from the continued popularity of churchgoing in the United States to the emergence of New Age spirituality in Western Europe, the growth in fundamentalist movements and religious parties in the Muslim world, the evangelical revival sweeping through Latin America, and the upsurge of ethno-religious conflict in international affairs. After reviewing these developments, Peter L. Berger, one of the foremost advocates of secularization during the 1960s, recanted his earlier claims: "The world today, with some exceptions... is as furiously religious as it ever was, and in some places more so than ever. This means that a whole body of literature by historians and social sci-entists loosely labeled 'secularization theory' is essentially mistaken." In a fierce and sustained critique, Rodney Stark and Roger Finke suggest it is time to bury the secularization thesis: "After nearly three centuries of utterly failed prophesies and misrepresentations of both present and past, it seems time to carry the secularization doctrine to the graveyard of failed theories, and there to whisper 'requiescat in pace.' "