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The Paradox of Faith: Religion beyond secularization and de-secularization

Pabst, Adrian (2011) The Paradox of Faith: Religion beyond secularization and de-secularization. In: Calhoun, Craig and Derlugian, Georgi, eds. The Deepening Crisis: Governance Challenges after Neoliberalism. Possible Futures . New York University Press, New York City, pp. 157-181. ISBN 978-0-8147-7281-2. (KAR id:37472)


In this chapter, I argue that the standard models of “secularization” and “desecularization” are theoretically problematic and empirically questionable. By essentializing religion, both theories adopt a secular perspective. This perspective ignores key sociological, anthropological, and philosophical features that can account for the specificities of different religious traditions (section 1). Moreover, modernity is not a linear process that progressively replaces the religious past with a secular future. Rather, it is a dialectical process oscillating between a dominant secularism (and a variety of denominational subcultures that are positively linked to modernization), on the one hand, and an increasingly visible revival of traditional faiths which resist and seek to transform the secular outlook of global modernity, on the other hand (section 2). Instead of the rather sterile debate in terms of secularization and desecularization, the future will probably consist of a contest of ideas and practices between those traditions that either embrace or challenge secular modernity. This is seen in how religious ideas on reciprocity, mutuality, and relationality are coming to the fore in public discussions on ethics, political economy, and science (section 3).

Item Type: Book section
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BL Religion
J Political Science > JC Political theory
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Human and Social Sciences > School of Politics and International Relations
Depositing User: Adrian Pabst
Date Deposited: 10 Dec 2013 20:44 UTC
Last Modified: 16 Nov 2021 10:14 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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