The End of Religion? A History of the Theory of Secularization
This monograph is devoted to debates about the place of religion in modern society that have taken place among sociologists and social theorists since the end of the nineteenth century. The author focuses on the history of secularization theory, which for many years dominated the sociology of religion and proclaimed the incompatibility of religion and modern society. According to this thesis, religion is doomed to an inevitable loss of its social significance. The book details the ideas of key secularization theorists, including Talcott Parsons, Peter Berger, Bryan Wilson, Thomas Luckmann, and David Martin. It also analyzes the principles on which secularization theory was built and the criticism it has been subjected to since the late 1970s. It then surveys attempts to update the theory in the 1980s and 1990s and the reasons for the crisis of secularization theory and its gradual decline in the early 2000s. The theory of secularization developed in Soviet sociology is considered separately. This volume will be useful for researchers, students studying social theory and the sociology of religion, and all those interested in contemporary religious processes.