On Secularization : Towards a Revised General Theory book cover
1st Edition

On Secularization
Towards a Revised General Theory

ISBN 9780754653226
Published July 28, 2005 by Routledge
216 Pages

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Book Description

'Secularization' has been hotly debated since it was first subjected to critical attention in the mid-sixties by David Martin, before he sketched a 'General Theory' in 1969. 'On Secularization' presents David Martin's reassessment of the key issues: with particular regard to the special situation of religion in Western Europe, and questions in the global context including Pentecostalism in Latin America and Africa. Concluding with examinations of Pluralism, Christian Language, and Christianity and Politics, this book offers students and other readers of social theory and sociology of religion an invaluable reappraisal of Christianity and Secularization. It represents the most comprehensive sociology of contemporary Christianity, set in historical depth.

Table of Contents

Contents: Foreword, Charles Taylor; Introduction. PART I ORIENTATIONS: Sociology, religion and secularization; Evangelical expansion in global society. PART II EUROPE: Rival patterns of Secularization and their 'triumphal ways'; Comparative Secularization North and South; Religion, Secularity, Secularism and European integration; Canada in Comparative Perspective; The USA in central European perspective. PART III NARRATIVES aND METANARRATIVES: Secularization: master narrative or several stories?; Pentecostalism: a major narrative of modernity. PART IV COMMENTARY: Mission and the plurality of faiths; What is Christian language?;The Christian, the political and the academic. Index.

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David Martin is Emeritus Professor of Sociology at London School of Economics and is Honorary Professor at Lancaster University, UK. He is author of more than twenty books, of which a key one was A General Theory of Secularization (1978), a foundational text, which shifted the debate towards the historical variability of secularization.


'I have found David Martin’s work tremendously useful and illuminating for my own reflections on modernity, secularization and Christian faith. I see Martin as having transformed the discussion about secularization, moving us onto a different track. Some of the latest fruits of his reflections are offered in this new work.' Charles Taylor, Professor Emeritus of Philosophy, McGill University, Canada 'This is a fascinating and challenging book from a leading sociologist whose reflections make a major contribution towards understanding the cultural dynamics of secularization. Martin's book will be essential reading for undergraduate and postgraduate students in the sociology of religion, religious studies, contemporary Christianity as well as scholars with a serious interest in these fields. This important and rewarding book will stand as a landmark study for years to come.' Jonathan S Fish, University of Leeds, UK '...an exhilarating tour round the contemporary (mostly Christian) religious scene, packed with sharp historical insights, illuminating reflections on the nature of religion itself, and indications of the systematic social pressures which once gave the belief in inevitable secularization its plausibility... no one seriously trying to understand the place and character of religion in the modern world can afford to miss this book.' Times Literary Supplement '... like everything David Martin writes, it's wonderfully lucid, drawing on his knowledge of conditions on the ground from Bucharest to Buenos Aires.' Christianity Today '... for those of us who have been shaped by [David Martin's] subtle and complex theories over the years, he remains a mentor.' Church Times 'Martin's new book brings into relief some of the critical sociological questions about religion in our day... he does provide critical concepts and insights for scholars of religion to grapple with such questions in the future.' The Hedgehog Review '... Martin provides interesting case s