to what extent is securitisation occurring


religious participation and belief

Evidence for


  • WILSON- in Britain been a decline in church attendance 1851 40% attendance church 2010 regular church attendance 6%
  • Ave age of church attender is now 51
  • Ceremonies e.g. weddings/ Baptisms dropping to 32% of weddings now take place in church under 20% of babies now baptized
  • Fewer churches and fewer religions clergy/ ministers


  • 2011 census for England/ Wales number of people who say they are Christen has dropped dramatically from 72% to 59%
  • Number of people who say they have no religion risen from 15% to 25%
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religious participation and beliefs

Evidenced against

  • Statistics problematic, socially constructed- different churches measure participation in different ways-
  • Making comparisons difficult to make

Some churches show increasing membership e.g. Jehova witnesses, and Islam, Hindu membership doubled in the UK in the last 40 years

Those who argue sec is occurring- ignore NRM/NAM membership

Church membership remains important in some areas e.g. NI 70%- America 40% attend church   

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This measure assumes that religion was once indeed important- known as the golden age of religion

Where people claim that society was once more religious when church attendance was higher David martin questions this argues- this may not have happened

People might of gone to church in the past to seem respectable rather than because they were particularly religious  

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religious disengagement

Church and the state becoming more separate e.g. church as less influence over the Gove, education and the law

Evidence for

  • Wilson-agues religious organizations seen a decline in their power, wealth, influence/prestige
  • Decline in political role of the church especially declining control of education and social welfare-been taken over by specialist secular parts of the Gove- SD   
  • Bruce church/ state more separate church disagrees with the Gove
  • Socialization- Church used to be center of the community today church simply not involved in many committees as it was
  • May be not the case for ethnic minorities 
  • Religion changed- today less about influencing the state more about meeting needs of the individual
  • Disengament may not  mean that people are less religious perhaps religion just changed not declined 
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religious disengagement

 Evidence against

  • Parsons- SD has lead to religion becoming increasingly specialized and religion performs fewer functions as society become industrialized
  • Martin- church may have been corrupt in past in its influence so not so good influence today the church has more influence on spiritual matters not necessarily indicating a decline in influence

Church is still influential e.g.

  • Salvation Army still helps the poor
  • Catholic Church sill influences catholic people about contraception    

In some cultures religion remains V important e.g. fundamental Islamic sates  

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religious pluralism

Evidence for

Wilson- religious pluralism means that religion is no longer promoting VC or **- lost its force as an integrating influence – cannot unite

Bruce losts of religions to chose form  reinforces the idea beliefs are a personal preference  a choice A option- choice leads to religions competing- undermines their credibility

Wilson- ecumenical movement which was about brining churches together was a sign of religion getting weaker

Growth of NRMs/NAMs means that people have become spiritual shoppers- suggest that their beliefs less strong  

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religious pluralism

Evidence against 

A growth of different types of religion means that religion still valid/ important or maybe we are even seeing 

A religious revival- religion coming back/ becoming more important 

Resacuralsation- interest/ belief in the scared is coming back 

Religion as a compensator- NAMs/ NRMs becoming important in meeting needs of an individual    

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desacralisation and rationalisation

Evidence for

Weber- that there is a process of demystification of the world means that the world increasingly becoming dominated by rational ideas and not by mystery/ Magic and the super natural

Desacrelaisation as the disenchantment of the world

Bruce scientific discoveries have explained lots of events e.g. earthquakes so religious expiations les credible

People have began to turn to sci not religion for answers

Herzberg churches themselves less religious 

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desacralisation and rationalisation

Evidence against  

People still prefer religious explanations for random events

People sill believe in fate/luck

Growth of NRMs/NAMs means that there is still an important place in life for non rational ideas 

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secularisation of religion institutions

Evidence for 

Herzberg- seen especially in the US where the church as seemed to have abandoned its original religious aims – been a decline in authentic religion

Religion has become a way of life a way of expressing American identify religion turned in to a therapy

Bruce- some ideas in the UK have been watered down/ abandoned e.g. heaven / hell  

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secularisation of religion institutions

Evidence against

The growth of fundamental religious groups where there is a strong commitment to literal interpretations of religious texts challenges Herzberg’s augments

Isn’t the growth of fundamentalism evidence of authentic religion 

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Davie believing with out belonging

D explored the relationship between religion/modernity

Argues that that people TODAY may believe in religion but not BELONG to any formal organization

Evidence- events such as 9/ 11 disappearance of April Jones where there was a V public outpouring of belief

 D claims that although people do not attend church as much they sill clam to BELIEVE in the supernatural/ turn to religion in times of NEED-

in fact a minority of people are religious on behalf of a silent majority and that those in the majority appreciate their efforts

D calls this vicarious religion  

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Davie concludes

  • If we use church attendance then religion is declining
  • However people continue to BELIEVE in religion even if they don’t BELONG  
  • However…..

    Voas/ Crocket 05 challenge Davie and argue that that believing/ belonging are falling at a similar rate  

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the Kendal project

An important study- a team of researchers lead by Paul Heelas set out to test the spiritual revolution Theism- claims that there is a spiritual revolution occurring-  significant  growth in new age spirituality

The researchers identified  two possible trends

Secularization theorists argue that there is a decline in trad Christianity, with god who tells people what to do in their lives

Sacralsatation theorist ague there is a growth in new age spirituality      

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  • Chose the town of Kendal to test the SRT has a population of 28,000 small enough to be investigated thoroughly/ large enough to have a range of traditional religions and new age spiritualities
  • Focus of research was a comparison between the congregational domain and the holistic menu
  • Con domain represented by 25 Christen churches / chapels- head count was taken of those who attended on the 26/11/02  
  • Holistic menu refers to those who practice actives in which they see as involving the whole person- combining mind body and spirit- inclusion of sprit critical- if an activity not seen as spiritual  that person not included in the spiritual menu

    A questionnaire was used to count those involved with new age spiritualities/ in depth interviewing explored the attractions of the NA     

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Head count fir churches/ chapples was 2207-8.95 of the population of Kendal- same percentage for Brittan as a whole

Attendance figures form 1950S onwards show sig decline

Holistic growth saw strong growth- 95 practitioners of spiritual activates in 02 1970s only 3 in the yellow pages by 1999 grown to 600

1.6% of the population of Kendal

However only 55% considered these activates to be of spiritual significance-0.9% of the population  

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In Heelas/ Woodheads words the SP had  Cleary not taken place in Kendal

At 1st site 0.9% involved in holistic spiritual practices seems a long way from the 7.95 involved in the congregational domain

However trends suggest a different pic if present trends continue then the revolution will take place in 20 or 30 years 

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The Kendal project important piece of research, it provides a measurement of new age spirituality, second looks at trends over time  

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how do these findings fit into the sec debate

The trends identified   suggest that NAS cannot be dismissed as easily as some sec theorists argue

However numbers involves still fairly small

Can new age spirituality be compared to religion- although many people believe in the holistic practices many have a spiritual aspect, this is V different form believing in/ praying to a supper natural being 

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