Journal Article

Secularization from the Perspective of Globalization: A Response to Dobbelaere

Peter Beyer

in Sociology of Religion

Published on behalf of Association for the Sociology of Religion

Volume 60, issue 3, pages 289-301
Published in print January 1999 | ISSN: 1069-4404
Published online January 1999 | e-ISSN: 1759-8818 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.2307/3711938
Secularization from the Perspective of Globalization: A Response to Dobbelaere

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The perspective of globalization often treats global social reality as a single global society. The question of secularization must therefore be addressed primarily to that society and not in the first instance to a regional or cultural subunit of it. Following Dobbelaere's three-dimensional model of secularization, it is argued that world society is for the most part secularized in the dimension of “laicization,” but not in those of “religious change” or “religious involvement.” The three dimensions vary independently just as the corresponding Luhmannian types of social system, interaction, organization, and societal system do. The approach permits the analysis of regional differences without thereby having to put forward one or another of these as normative for the society as a whole. In this light, four forms of religion are analyzed for their likely dominance in global society, namely the collective cultural, the organized, the politicized, and the individualistic. The conclusion is that global society offers the most favorable conditions for the last three, but that overall the future of religion in this society is fundamentally unpredictable for social theory.

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Subjects: Religion ; Sociology of Religion

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