The Role of Religion in Modern Societies  book cover
1st Edition

The Role of Religion in Modern Societies

ISBN 9780415512534
Published December 9, 2011 by Routledge
296 Pages

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Book Description

Does modernization lead to the decline of religion? This question lies at the centre of a key debate in the sociology of religion. During the past decade American scholars, using primarily American data, have dominated this debate and have made a strong case that the answer to this question is no. Recently, however, a new crop of European scholars, working with new sources of European data, have uncovered evidence that points toward an affirmative answer.

This volume pays special attention to these trends and developments to provide the reader with a more well-rounded understanding of the many ways in which religion interacts with modernization. Respected scholars such as David Voas, Steve Bruce and Anthony Gill examine modern societies across the world in this splendid book which will interest sociologists, political scientists, historians, and theologians in equal measure.

Table of Contents

List of Tables

List of Graphs


Detlef Pollack and Daniel Olson

Chapter 1: Introduction: Religious Change in Modern Societies- Perspectives Offered By the Sociology of Religion

Detlef Pollack

Section One: The secularization theory: Classical assumptions and ramifications

Chapter 2: The Continuing Secular Transition

David Voas

Chapter 3: God, Gaelic and Needlepoint: Religion as a Social Accomplishment

Steve Bruce

Chapter 4: Religion in Central and Eastern Europe: Was There a Re-awakening After the Breakdown of Communism?

Olaf Müller

Section Two: The market model: Classical assumptions and ramifications

Chapter 5: Quantitative Evidence Favoring and Opposing the Religious Market Model

Daniel Olson

Chapter 6: Secularization and the State:

The Role Government Policy Plays in Determining Social Religiosity

Anthony Gill

Chapter 7: Unsecular Europe: The Persistence of Religion

Andrew Greeley

Section 3: The individualization thesis: Classical assumptions and ramifications

Chapter 8: From ‘Believing without belonging’ to ‘Vicarious Religion’:  Understanding the Patterns of Religion in Modern Europe

Grace Davie

Chapter 9: The Cultural Paradigm: Declines in Belonging and Then Believing

Robin Gill

Chapter 10: Religious individualization or secularization: An attempt to evaluate the thesis of religious individualization in Eastern and Western Germany

Gert Pickel and Detlef Pollack

Section Four: New theories on religion and modernity exemplified at the European case

Chapter 11: Religion and Science or Religion versus Science? About the Social Construction of the Science-Religion-Antagonism in the German Democratic Republic and its Lasting Consequences

Monika Wohlrab-Sahr

Chapter 12: Secularization Theory and Rational Choice:

An integration of macro- and micro-theories of secularization using the example of Switzerland

Jörg Stolz



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Detlef Pollack is Professor of Comparative Sociology of Culture at Europa-Universitat Viadrina, Germany.

Daniel V. A. Olson is Associate Professor of Sociology at Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana.