postmodernity and religion

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  • Created by: Gemma
  • Created on: 13-04-12 14:34

some sociologists say the religion is simply changing, not declining as the secularisation theory suggests, as a result of changes in wider society, such as greater individualism and consumerism, or a shift from modern to late modern or post modern society

believing without belonging

Grace Davie (2007) argues that religion is taking a more privatised form.

  • people no longer go to church because they feel they have to. so church attendance has gone down because church is now a matter of personal choice not obligation
  • we now have believing without belonging - people hold religious beliefs but don't go to church. therefore the decline of traditional religion is matched by the growth of a new form of religion 
  • there is a trend towards 'vicarious religion' where a small number of professional clergy practice religion on behalf of a much larger number of people 
  • in societies like Britain, despite low attendance, many people still use the church for rites of passage such as baptisms, weddings and funerals
  • Davies rejects the secularisation theory which assumes that modernisation affects every society in the same way. Instead there are multiple modernities eg. Britain and America are both modern societies but with very different patterns of religion - high church attendance in america, low in Britain but accompanied by believing without belonging 

spiritual shopping

Danielle Hervieu Legar (2002) supports the theme of personal choice and believing without belonging. 

  • There has been a cultural amnesia - a loss of collective memory. people have lost the religion that used to be handed down from generation to generation through family and church
  • Gender equality has undermined the traditional Church's power to impose religion from above, so young people no longer inherit a fixed religious identity 
  • However, while traditional insitutional religion has declined, religion continues through individual consumerism. People have become spiritual shoppers. Religion…


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