The Meaning and Scope of Secularization

Karel Dobbelaere

in The Oxford Handbook of the Sociology of Religion

Published in print February 2011 | ISBN: 9780199588961
Published online September 2009 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Religion and Theology

 The Meaning and Scope of Secularization

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Standard religion is experiencing change and challenges on an unprecedented scale. Addressing mainly the situation in the West, and more specifically the European Union, this article argues that there are clear indications that what it refers to as ‘manifest secularisation’ or ‘laicisation’, as it is known in France, will increase in the years to come. It takes up the question of the continuing sensitivity to religion displayed by individuals under the label of ‘individual secularisation’, considered as the loss of control by religious authorities over the form and content of what people believe and how they practice. The article also contends that the continuation of religious belief and practice at the individual level confirms rather than refutes the theory of secularisation.

Keywords: secularisation theory; European Union; religious belief; individual secularisation; laicisation

Article.  7072 words. 

Subjects: Religion ; Sociology of Religion

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