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Sacred and Secular
Religion and Politics Worldwide

$24.00 USD

Part of Cambridge Studies in Social Theory, Religion and Politics

  • Date Published: November 2006
  • availability: This ISBN is for an eBook version which is distributed on our behalf by a third party.
  • format: Adobe eBook Reader
  • isbn: 9780511227738

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About the Authors
  • Seminal thinkers of the nineteenth century - Auguste Comte, Herbert Spencer, Emile Durkheim, Max Weber, Karl Marx, and Sigmund Freud - all predicted that religion would gradually fade in importance and cease to be significant with the emergence of industrial society. The belief that religion was dying became the conventional wisdom in the social sciences during most of the twentieth century. During the last decade, however, the secularization thesis has experienced the most sustained challenge in its long history. The traditional secularization thesis needs updating. Religion has not disappeared and is unlikely to do so. Nevertheless, the concept of secularization captures an important part of what is going on. This book develops a theory of secularization and existential security. Sacred and Secular is essential reading for anyone interested in comparative religion, sociology, public opinion, political behavior, political development, social psychology, international relations, and cultural change.

    • Articulates and develops a controversial new theory seeking to explain patterns of secularization and religiosity that is certain to arouse debate among social scientists
    • New evidence about the causes and consequences of secularization from the World Values Survey, conducted in almost 80 societies, along with other sources of data
    • The study examines the implications of secularization for politics, especially for electoral behavior and for social capital
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'This is the antidote to fact-free speculation. Instead of grandiose speculation about the impact of globalization and economic development on religion world-wide, Norris and Inglehart give us gold standard social science: sound reasoning based on the vast body of evidence in the accumulated World Values Survey data sets.' Steve Bruce, University of Aberdeen

    'This book, by two skilled and prolific political scientists, will be widely read by scholars and students interested in gender politics, political culture, political change and modernization, and comparative public opinion and political participation.' Virginia Sapiro, University of Wisconsin, Madison

    'Using the concept of existential security, Norris and Inglehart recast the debate on secularization. Their interdisciplinary approach successfully overcomes previous pitfalls to produce a nuanced and thought-provoking treatment of contemporary relations between religion and economic development.' Rachel M. McCleary, Harvard University

    'A superb book that will reshape the debate over secularization. We have been losing sight of the big picture; Norris and Inglehart restore perspective. This study is both a major achievement empirically and a substantial contribution to theory.' David Voas, University of Manchester

    'This is an important book that counters conventional wisdom with considerable and careful research. Its arguments will be controversial, and should inspire political scientists and sociologists who disagree with its premises to challenge it. The book is must reading for anyone interested in religion and politics, for it is likely to be at the center of the debate for years to come.' Clyde Wilcox, Georgetown University

    '… the book is a very valuable overview of the general distribution of religiosity in the current world and some of its main dynamics.' GeoJournal

    'Norris & Inglehart's book is a pleasure to read and an inspiration for scholars for its effort to generate solid knowledge on a much debated question. … the reader will find much fascinating material,…' Journal of Peace research

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    Product details

    • Date Published: November 2006
    • format: Adobe eBook Reader
    • isbn: 9780511227738
    • contains: 33 b/w illus. 43 tables
    • availability: This ISBN is for an eBook version which is distributed on our behalf by a third party.
  • Table of Contents

    Part I. Understanding Secularization:
    1. The secularization debate
    2. Measuring secularization
    3. Comparing secularization worldwide
    Part II. Case Studies of Religion and Politics:
    4. The puzzle of religiosity in the United States and Western Europe
    5. A religious revival in post-communist Europe?
    6. Religion and politics in the Muslim world
    Part III. The Consequences of Secularization:
    7. Religion, the Protestant ethic, and moral values
    8. Religious organizations and social capital
    9. Religious parties and electoral behaviour
    Part IV. Conclusions:
    10. Consequences.

  • Authors

    Pippa Norris, Harvard University, Massachusetts
    Pippa Norris is the McGuire Lecturer in Comparative Politics at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. Her work analyzes comparative elections and public opinion, gender politics, and political communications. Companion volumes by this author, also published by Cambridge University Press, include A Virtuous Circle (2000), Digital Divide (2001), Democratic Phoenix (2002), Rising Tide (2003, with Ronald Inglehart) and Electoral Engineering (2004).

    Ronald Inglehart, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
    Ronald Inglehart is professor of political science and program director at the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan. His research deals with changing belief systems and their impact on social and political change. He helped found the Euro-Barometer surveys and directs the World Values Surveys. Related books include Modernization and Postmodernization: Cultural, Economic and Political Change in 43 Societies (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1997), Rising Tide (2003, with Pippa Norris) and Development, Cultural Change and Democracy (2004, with Christian Welzel).

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