A2 Sociology: Secularisation

These notes aren't as detailed as my other notes. However, I found them useful as Secularisation was my strong point.

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The process of society becoming less religious.
How do we measure Secularisation?
Church Attendance: UK church membership and attendance has
gone down ­ attendance has fallen by
almost 1million in the last 20 years
Religious Beliefs Today: More people claim they hold
Christian beliefs than actually belong
to or go to church
Religious belief is declining in the line
w/the decline in church attendance
and membership
Robin Gill et al:
When asked, "Would describe
yourself as being of any religion?"
23% replied `no' in 1950 and 1996
increased to 43%
Religious Institutions Today: House of Lords influence has
declined since 19th century
Size of clergy fell from 45,000 in 1900
to 34,00 in 2000
Explanations for secularisation:
Disappearance thesis (rationalisation) Differentiation thesis (structural
The process by which rational ways of differentiation)
thinking and acting replaces religious ones. Religion is declining and no longer influences
major institutions e.g. school
Key Evidence: Woodhead & Heelas
Rational thinking and science has become Key Evidence: Bruce
largely replaced by religious views of the Religion has become separate from wider
world society and has lost its form of functions
Become privatised
Disengagement thesis (social and Religious Diversity
cultural diversity) Religion doesn't have one organisation, but
Religion is not as influential as it used to be. it has many organisations and
People are more likely to listen to the media interpretations
as role models rather than the clergy.
Key Evidence: Bruce

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Key Evidence: Bruce In society today there is more than one
Sees industrialisation as undermining the religion. Bruce Sees religion diversity as the
consensus of religious beliefs that hold small main cause of criticism.
rural communities together
Secularisation in America
In 1962, Wilson found that 45% of Americans attended church on Sundays.…read more

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