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SecularizationIn Defence of an Unfashionable Theory$
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Steve Bruce

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199654123

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:osobl/9780199654123.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 26 September 2021

Explaining Secularization

Explaining Secularization

(p.24) 2 Explaining Secularization

Steve Bruce

Oxford University Press

This chapter explains the relationship between modernisation and secularisation, with particular emphasis on how modernisation contributed to the decline of religion in the West. It presents a synthesis of various attempts to explain the general observation that modernisation undermines the power, popularity, and prestige of religious beliefs, behaviour, and institutions. It first considers the meaning of modernisation before turning to a discussion of the key elements of the secularisation paradigm, namely: monotheism, the Protestant ethic, the structural and functional differentiation that comes with size and wealth, social differentiation, individualism, societalisation, schism and sects, social and cultural diversity, compartmentalisation and privatisation, secular states and liberal democracy, the moderation of sects and churches, economic growth, science and technology, technology and technological consciousness, and relativism. It then examines how cultural transition and cultural defence retard secularisation.

Keywords:   modernisation, secularisation, religion, West, religious beliefs, monotheism, societalisation, liberal democracy, cultural transition, cultural defence

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