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Article
Publication date: 1 March 2005

James E. Alvey

In the Western world the voices calling for a secular society have grown ever louder over the last three centuries. This paper seeks to return to one of the founders of…

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Abstract

Purpose

In the Western world the voices calling for a secular society have grown ever louder over the last three centuries. This paper seeks to return to one of the founders of modernity for guidance. Adam Smith advocated globalization on economic and moral grounds.Design/methodology/approach – A discussion focusing on those calling for a secular society and, in addition to these normative advocates, various social scientists have propounded the “secularization thesis”; after analysing history from a purportedly positive view, they have argued that “modernization” leads to a secular society. Recently globalization has been seen as another cause of secularization. At the same time, the revival of various religions has cast doubt on these claims.Findings – Smith did not see secularization as an inevitable consequence of globalization. Further, despite his awareness of the arguments of the advocates of secular society (and contrary to some commentators like Minowitz), he rejected their advice. For him, a secular community was neither a necessary nor a desirable consequence of globalization.Originality/value – Provides a viewpoint on some of Adam Smith's thoughts and ideas.

Details

International Journal of Social Economics, vol. 32 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0306-8293

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 1 February 1987

Daniel J. O'Neil

There exists a rich sociological literature dealing with secularisation. Such nineteenth‐century sociologists as Weber and Durkheim and twentieth‐century sociologists as…

Abstract

There exists a rich sociological literature dealing with secularisation. Such nineteenth‐century sociologists as Weber and Durkheim and twentieth‐century sociologists as Greeley, Bellah, Berger and Wilson have contributed. Berger refers to secularisation as “the process by which sectors of society and culture are removed from the domination of religious institutions and symbols”, while Wilson defines it as “the process whereby religious thinking, practices and institutions lose social significance”. These definitions represent the thrust of academic thinking about secularisation. Generally, social scientists interpret secularisation as the decline of religiosity — a movement from faith to reason. They cite numerous indicators of the change: decline in such areas as church attendance, praying, use of religious rites and rituals, recruitment to the church bureaucracy, church construction. Often they suggest a kind of inevitability relating to urbanisation and industrialisation. The focus of the process involves man becoming less concerned with the spiritual and more concerned with the mundane. Eventually, the spiritual becomes irrelevant; the Age of Enlightenment triumphs over the Age of Faith.

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International Journal of Social Economics, vol. 14 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0306-8293

Book part
Publication date: 23 April 2012

Gabriele Ballarino and Cristiano Vezzoni

Purpose – In order to study how religious behaviour is evolving in contemporary societies, the chapter looks at the relation between the individuals' position in social…

Abstract

Purpose – In order to study how religious behaviour is evolving in contemporary societies, the chapter looks at the relation between the individuals' position in social stratification and their participation to the weekly mass, and at its evolution in contemporary Italy.

Design/Methodology/Approach – The data come from the Italian National Election Study (ITANES) database, including national representative surveys from 1968 to 2006, and are analyzed with logit models.

Findings – Weekly mass participation has decreased from 1968 to 2006. The trend was rapid in the 1960s and 1970s, has slowed in the 1980s, but it has started again in the 1990s. Ceteris paribus, the upper class, shows a consistently more religious behaviour than the intermediate and the lower ones, and that the least educated are more religious. There is also evidence of a strong and consistent cohort effect, persisting across the considered period. Each cohort does not change much its participation to the weekly mass over time, but each new cohort shows a lower level of participation.

Research limitations/Implications – The findings give support to the classical secularization thesis, despite the many critiques addressed to it since the 1990s. Given that Italy is one of the most religious Western countries, this is a quite important finding. Some support is also given to the hypothesis of religion as an ‘instrumentum regni’, according to which it is in the interest of the higher social strata to be more religious, as religion supports and legitimates existing patterns of social inequality. Findings concerning cohorts point to socialization as the actual mechanism changing behaviours and attitudes.

Details

Religion, Work and Inequality
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78052-347-7

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 1 June 2004

Harvey Sarles

The Secular Revolution is an examination of the means by which the university as an institution enabled the secularization of America. From a dominant Protestant…

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Abstract

The Secular Revolution is an examination of the means by which the university as an institution enabled the secularization of America. From a dominant Protestant establishment in the mid‐1800s, science, psychology, law, journalism, medicine and biology authorized the secular revolution. A rising capitalism, a continuing immigrant population increasing the power of cities, also played important roles in this radical shift. Beyond analysis, the problem of this book is strategic, attempting virtually to undo the secular revolution, and to return America to its rightful scientific, political, and religious form.

Details

On the Horizon, vol. 12 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1074-8121

Keywords

Executive summary
Publication date: 12 April 2018

CHILE: Papal apology will not halt secularisation

Details

DOI: 10.1108/OXAN-ES232075

ISSN: 2633-304X

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Geographic
Topical
Book part
Publication date: 30 November 2011

Michael P. Young and Christopher Pieper

We should begin with making clear our limitations in responding to Gorski's article. We are not experts in the debates about American civil religion. Like most…

Abstract

We should begin with making clear our limitations in responding to Gorski's article. We are not experts in the debates about American civil religion. Like most sociologists of religion we are familiar with Bellah's (1967) Daedalus article and its great influence. We have not followed closely the empirical work that sought to test whether a civil religion actually exists in America or elsewhere, and only casually followed the more theoretical debates surrounding the concept itself. We are actually better versed in Gorski's work and from that perspective we think his article on Obama and civil religion can be usefully read as a continuation of a line of reasoning he launched more than 10 years ago with his American Sociological Review article on historicizing secularization. In that article he claimed that it was probable that “Western society has become more secular without becoming less religious” and explained why (Gorski, 2000, p. 138). Barack Obama's invocation of an American civil religion and its popular reception by liberal Americans fits well with this line of reasoning. In the heady days of 2008, many liberal Americans seemed to have found (civil) religion with Obama – a surprising turn of events in need of explanation.

Details

Rethinking Obama
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-0-85724-911-1

Book part
Publication date: 16 April 2014

C. R. Hinings and Mia Raynard

This article reviews the historical development of the treatment of religious organizations in journals centered on religion.

Abstract

Purpose

This article reviews the historical development of the treatment of religious organizations in journals centered on religion.

Design/methodology/approach

The article asks four questions: (1) Are religious organizations different from other kinds of organizations? (2) What factors produce differences or similarities between religious and other organizations? (3) Are religious organizations different from each other?

Findings

Differences from other kinds of organizations are based in beliefs/theology. But there is a constant concern with the bureaucratization of religious organizations as they are subject to general organizational influences such as scale and geographical dispersion. However, it is argued that these general influences emanate from belief systems. We suggest the need for a renewed attention to a comparative organizations perspective in organization theory – one that appreciates the similarities and differences between sectors and within sectors.

Originality/value

Not only are there differences between religious and nonreligious organizations, but there are also substantial differences between religious organizations. There are also similarities between religious and nonreligious organizations, as well as similarities between religious organizations. The way forward for both the study of religious organizations and organizational theory in general is to look for explanations for these similarities and differences.

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Religion and Organization Theory
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78190-693-4

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 19 August 2021

Nicholas Creel

The study aims to establish that religiosity has a positive link with government trust, making the secularization trend all the more likely to further erode this already…

Abstract

Purpose

The study aims to establish that religiosity has a positive link with government trust, making the secularization trend all the more likely to further erode this already fragile resource.

Design/methodology/approach

Through the use of data from the World Values Survey and European Social Survey the link between religiosity and trust in government is examined.

Findings

Religiosity and trust in government are positively linked in aggregate data.

Research limitations/implications

The analysis is based on aggregated data, not individual countries, and religiosity is a complex concept to measure.

Practical implications

Secularization will have a long-term negative effect on government trust. Low levels of trust in government in the West are likely here to stay, or even worsen, as populations continue to secularize.

Social implications

With less trust in government, it will be more difficult to govern effectively.

Originality/value

The author has not yet seen a full test on how secularization will impact trust in government. In fact, this study makes clear that the trend goes a long way explaining why trust in government has been falling in the developed world for decades.

Details

International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-333X

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 4 December 2017

Dmitri Medvedovski and Kirk Allison

Religious pursuits may promote explicitly “spiritual” goods (theo-relational connectedness, character formation, etc.) and “secular” utilities including health. The…

Abstract

Purpose

Religious pursuits may promote explicitly “spiritual” goods (theo-relational connectedness, character formation, etc.) and “secular” utilities including health. The purpose of this paper is to initiate investigation of this intersection for paternal religious practices in Lithuania’s dynamic post-Soviet social context. Reflecting on religio-political history, the nature of the religious field, spiritual capital, and externalities related to confessional identity, what relationships exist between institutional engagement, devotional practice, education and other predictors in the post-Soviet Lithuanian religious context?

Design/methodology/approach

Original data were collected in 2011 (returning 73 of 100 surveys) in Klaipėda, Lithuania. Correlation and χ2 identified variables for regression analysis. Given Ordinary Least Squares heteroscedasticity (Breusch-Pagan test), weighted least squares modeling estimated coefficients for extra mural and institutional religious practice generically and differentiated by confessional identity.

Findings

Generically and by confessional identity, utility differences in institutional context appear paradoxical to secularization hypotheses. While correlated, institutional engagement and non-institutional devotional practice evidenced non-complementarity regarding educational attainment: greater education predicted higher institutional engagement but sparer devotional life. The authors suggest in explanation higher opportunity costs in individual devotional practice opposite positive offsets from secondary institutional utilities (e.g. social networking). Both were predicted by education, work hours, the non-dependent religious practice variable, self-reported health status, patterned by confessional identity, specifically Protestant opposite majority Catholic. Intergenerationally, a gender gradient was identified.

Originality/value

This analysis illuminates with original data divergent public institutional and private devotional religious practice utility structures in a dynamic transitional post-Soviet context.

Details

International Journal of Social Economics, vol. 44 no. 12
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0306-8293

Keywords

Expert briefing
Publication date: 19 January 2018

The pope’s visit came as Chile is becoming increasingly secular and the Catholic Church is regarded as having taken a weak stand on sexual abuse cases and as having lost…

Details

DOI: 10.1108/OXAN-DB229161

ISSN: 2633-304X

Keywords

Geographic
Topical
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