Sacred and Secular: Religion and Politics Worldwide

Front Cover
Cambridge University Press, Oct 17, 2011 - Political Science - 392 pages
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.

What people are saying - Write a review

We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.

Other editions - View all

About the author (2011)

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. Her work analyzes comparative elections and public opinion, gender politics, and political communications. Companion volumes by this author and Ronald Inglehart, also published by Cambridge University Press, include Rising Tide (2003) and Cosmopolitan Communications (2009).

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 Forty-Three Societies and Development, Cultural Change and Democracy (with Christian Welzel).

Bibliographic information