Davie: Postmodernity and religion

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  • Davie (2007): Believing without belonging
    • Religion is not declining but changing and taking on a more privatised form.
    • Churchgoing has now declined because it's a matter of personal choice rather than obligation.
      • Despite low attendance, people still use churches for rites of passae
        • Example: Baptisms, weddings, funerals.
      • Evaluation: The British social attitudes survey from 1983 to 2000 found that both church attendance and religious belief are declining.
        • If Davie had been right then he would have found that belief in God had increased.
    • An increase in "believing without belonging."
      • Definition: This is when people hold religious beliefs but don't actually go to church.
    • There is a trend towards "vicarious religion."
      • Definition: Where a small number of professional clergy cater to a much larger number of people.
    • Rejects secularisation theory's assumption that modernisation affects every society in the same way.
      • Instead there are "multiple modernities."
        • Definition: There are very different patterns of religion in different societies.
        • Example: Britain and America are both modern societies but with very different religious patters. (e.g. high church attendance in America, low in Britain, but accompanied by believing without belonging.)


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