Sacred and Secular: Religion and Politics Worldwide (Paperback)
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.
About the Author
Pippa Norris is Director of the Democratic Governance group in the United Nations Development Programme in New York and the Maguire Lecturer in Comparative Politics at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government. Recent books include "Sacred and Secular: Politics and Religion Worldwide" (with Ronald Inglehart, 2004), "Electoral Engineering: Voting Rules and Political Behavior" (2004), and "Driving Democratization: What Works" (2006). Norris, who is a political scientist, has served as an expert consultant for many international bodies including the UN, UNESCO, the Council of Europe, International IDEA, the National Endowment for Democracy, and the UK Electoral Commission.
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).