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Seminal nineteenth-century thinkers predicted that religion would gradually fade in importance 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. The traditional secularization thesis needs updating, however, 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 existential security. It demonstrates that the publics of virtually all advanced industrial societies have been moving toward more secular orientations during the past half century, but also that the world as a whole now has more people with traditional religious views than ever before. This second edition expands the theory and provides new and updated evidence from a broad perspective and in a wide range of countries. This confirms that religiosity persists most strongly among vulnerable populations, especially in poorer nations and in failed states. Conversely, a systematic erosion of religious practices, values, and beliefs has occurred among the more prosperous strata in rich nations.
Pippa Norris is the McGuire Lecturer in Comparative Politics at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and a visiting professor at Sydney University. Ronald Inglehart is professor of political science and program director at the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan.
Table of Contents
List of Tables
List of Figures
Preface and Acknowledgments
The Secularization Debate
Comparing Secularization Worldwide
Case Studies of Religion and Politics
The Puzzle of Secularization in the United States and Western Europe
A Religious Revival in Post-Communist Europe?
Religion and Politics in the Muslim World
The Consequences of Secularization
Religion, the Protestant Ethic, and Moral Values
Religious Organizations and Social Capital
Religious Parties and Electoral Behavior
Secularization and Its Consequences
Reexamining the Theory of Existential Security
Reexamining Evidence for the Security Thesis
Classifications of Types of Society
Concepts and Measures
Technical Note on the Freedom of Religion Scale
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