Existencial security theory

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  • Existencial security theory
    • Norris and Inglehart
      • Reject the RMTheory as it fails to explain the variations om religiosity in different societies.
      • The reason for the variations is because of the different degrees of existential security.
      • Religion meets a need for security, so societies with high level security hve low level demand for religion.
        • E.g. 3rd world countries are more religious as they are less secure than Western countries. Shows the demand for religion is not constant.
      • Also note that global population growth undermines the trend towards secularisation as richer countries have low levels of population than poorer ones.
        • Thus, richer countries are more secular and poorer countries are more religious.
      • The trend towards secularisation is increasing in Europe, as it is most equal and secure (developed welfare, reducing poverty.)
      • In America is remains religious as it the most unequal of rich societies (inadequate welfare state, creating high level of poverty.)
    • Gill and Lundegaarde
      • Found that a country who spends more on welfare, the lower their level of religious participation.
      • But they don't expect religion to disappear completely
        • Because although welfare provisions meet the needs for security it doesn't answer life's 'ultimate' questions.
    • Criticisms
      • Vasquez - Norris and Inglehart only use quantitative data about income levels.
        • They don't examine people's own definitions of 'existential security' so qualitaitve date is also needed.
      • They also only see religion as a negative response to deprivation.
        • They ignore positive reasons people have for religious participation and the appeal some religions have for the wealthy.


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