Analyse & Kritik

Journal of Philosophy and Social Theory


"Heiner Meulemann"

Titel: The Secularization Theory—Not Disconfirmed, Yet Rarely Tested
Autor: Heiner Meulemann
Seite: 325-355

Tendencies of secularization—religiosity decreases in Western societies since 1950—have been found abundantly in comparative survey research. They are taken as starting point to examine what the theory of secularization predicts and which predictions have been confirmed. It is shown that the three canonical theories of the change of religiosity—secularization, individualization, and market theory—are identical in their structure und can be integrated as the secularization theory. The secularization theory has been tested in cross-sectional and longitudinal designs, and by macro and multi-level analyses—that is, cross-classfied in four forms. Neglecting cross-sectional macro analyses, there are only 11 publications within the three remaining forms. They confirm a negative effect of social differentiation throughout und a negative effect of cultural pluralization often. Yet they often fail to control for important micro impacts upon religiosity, such as denomination or parenthood. In sum, they show that the secularization theory is by no means disconfirmed, yet rarely tested.

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