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Definitions, evidence and theoretical perspectives of secularisation

Created by Gabzay almost 6 years ago
Secularisation 9 mark question revision
Explanations of secularisation
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1 Defining secularisation
1.1 Woodhead and Heelas
1.1.1 Disapperance Thesis Modernity is bringing about the death of religion Decline in significance of religion for both society and individuals
1.1.2 Differentiation Thesis Religion has become separated from wider social structure No longer influences major social institutions e.g. family, education, legal and political systems
1.1.3 Evaluation The distinction is important Recognises that religion will not disappear but rather it will cease to be significant in the working of the social system
1.2 Hanson
1.2.1 Narrow Approach Focuses on religion at the level of individual consciousness
1.2.2 Broad Approach Asks whether religion has lost significance on the level of the social system
1.2.3 Evaluation The distinction is important Recognises that religion will not disappear but rather it will cease to be significant in the working of the social system
1.3 Secularisation and the West
1.3.1 Focus on the West
1.3.2 Does not see it as a global process
1.3.3 Bruce limits secularisation thesis to Europe, North America and Australasia
2 Evidence of Secularisation
2.1 The power and influence of the church
2.1.1 The power of religious institutions in Western Europe has declined over the past 1000 years
2.1.2 Church buildings in ruins or secular uses
2.2 Religious beliefs
2.2.1 People's attitudes and thinking is no longer based on religious beliefs
2.2.2 Narrower definition of belief so secularisation has risen
2.3 Religious practises
2.3.1 Religious practises have declined
2.3.2 Church membership, attendance, marriage, funerals, christenings, Sunday school, and Bible reading are down
2.4 Privatised religion
2.4.1 Decline in collective religious practises
2.4.2 Luckmann - once religion becomes private, the individual can 'pick and choose' as they please
2.4.3 Religion is become a 'private affair'
2.4.4 Davie - separation of 'belief and belonging', religious belief is less likely to be expressed in an institutional setting
2.4.5 If privatisation of religion is widespread, secularisation is not occurring in Hanson's narrow approach but rather in the broad approach
2.5 Beyond church and denomination
2.5.1 Barker - NRMs only affect lives of followers and make little difference to wider society
2.5.2 Bruce - NAMs have minimal effect on soceity
2.5.3 Rise of NAMs and NRMs are insignificant
2.6 Evaluation
2.6.1 Problems of validity when measuring membership
2.6.2 Davie distinguishes between belief and belonging - if belonging is low, it doesn't mean that secularisation is happening
2.6.3 Both belief and belonging is high in the USA
2.6.4 Ignore NRMs but it is beyond major religious institutions
2.6.5 Going to church is not a valid indicator of religiosity because it has different meanings at different times
2.6.6 Assume that there was a 'golden age' of religion but peasant religious practices are under-represented and the extent of hostility towards religion from peasants is underestimated
3 Theoretical Perspectives
3.1 Marx
3.1.1 Death of religion is inevitable
3.1.2 Social classes and oppression would generate religion
3.1.3 In communist society these would disappear and so would religion
3.1.4 Religion is a reflection of class society
3.1.5 Capitalism contains the seeds of secularisation
3.2 Weber
3.2.1 Rationalisation is a key process in modern society
3.2.2 Reason steadily replaces faith
3.2.3 Capitalism was one of the main factors in the development of rational capitalism
3.2.4 Spirit of capitalism had its origins in Calvinism
3.3 Berger
3.3.1 One of the main factors leading to secularisation is the rationality of Protestantism
3.3.2 Increase in spiritual marketplace because of media, geographical mobility and globalisation
3.3.3 People are more exposed to different religions so do not accept one truth. This weakens the authority of religion.
3.3.4 Protestantism has cut out the enchantment and sacramental ritual elements of Catholicism
3.4 Wilson
3.4.1 Religion is declining in social significance
3.4.2 Social differentiation - religion ceases to be significant in the working of the social system
3.4.3 Rational thinking and science - science and the scientific method displace religious explanations
3.4.4 Decline of community - communal values were expressed and reinforced in religious rituals but industrialisation has broken up close-knit communities
3.5 Durkheim
3.5.1 Saw rapid social changes brought about my industrialisation as a threat to religion
3.5.2 Close-knit community with shared norms and values were lifeblood of religion but changes resulted in a loss of both
3.5.3 Decline of religion is a reversible trend
3.5.4 Religion will not die, it will change form e.g. Bellah - civil religion

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