Topic 4 - Religion, renewal and choice

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Davie:
Religion is taking a privatised form - people may not be attending church but may still have religious
beliefs
Decline of traditional religion is matched by the growth of a new form of religion
Hervieu -Leger:
Individual consumerism has replaced collective tradition - people are now spiritual shoppers
Religion has become a spiritual journey - choose the elements we want to explore and groups we want
to join
Two new religious types
1. Pilgrims - follow individual path to self-discovery
2. Converts - join religious groups that offer a strong sense of belonging
Lyon: Jesus in Disneyland:
Features of post-modern society have changed the nature of religion
1. Relocation of religion
Globalisation and role of media has deinstitutionalised Religion
Sign and images have become detached from their place in religious institutions and have
become a cultural resource people can adapt for own purposes
2. Religious consumerism
People make conscious decisions about what elements of religion they find useful
3. Re-enchantment of the world
Growth of unconventional beliefs, practices and spirituality
Growing vitality of non traditional religion in West and elsewhere
CRITICISED BECAUSE THE GROWTH OF MEDIA + ELECTRONIC CHURCH IS EVIDENCE AGAINST SECULARISATION
Religious Market Theory - Stark and Bainbridge:
Religion provides us with compensators - promises supernatural rewards when real ones are
unobtainable
Competition in religious market improves quality of 'goods on offer' - makes them look more attractive
and so attracts 'customers'
CRITICISED BY BRUCE WHO REJECTS THE VIEW THAT DIVERSITY AND COMPETITION INCREASE THE DEMAND
FOR RELIGION
Existential Security Theory - Norris and Inglehart:
Religion meets the need for security - if people feel secure, there is less demand
Poor societies - people face life-threatening risks such as famine have high levels of insecurity, and thus
high levels of religiosity
Rich societies - high standard of living, more secure and low levels of religiosity
CRITICISED BY VASQUEZ - NORRS AND INGLEHART SEE RELIGION AS A NEGATIVE RESPONSE TO DEPRIVATION -
IGNORE THE POSITIVE REASONS FOR PARTICIPATION
Europe vs. America
America = much more religious that Europe despite being rich society because it's the most unequal
of rich societies - inadequate welfare safety-net creates high levels of poverty and insecurity which
creates greater need for religion.

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