Sacred and Secular: Religion and Politics Worldwide (Paperback)

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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.

About the Author

Pippa Norris is the McGuire Lecturer in Comparative Politics at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, and Laureate Fellow and Professor of Government and International Relations at the University of Sydney. She directs the Electoral integrity project ( Her work compares democracy and democratization, elections and public opinion, gender politics and political communications. Recent companion volumes by this award-winning author include Driving Democracy (2008), Cosmopolitan Communications (2009), Democratic Deficit (2011), Making Democratic Governance Work (2012) and Why Electoral Integrity Matters (2014). Her work has been recognized by several major international awards, including the Johan Skytte Prize, the Kathleen Fitzpatrick Laureate and the Karl Deutsch prize.

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).
Product Details
ISBN: 9781107648371
ISBN-10: 1107648378
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Publication Date: October 31st, 2011
Pages: 392
Language: English