SoSe 14: Religiosity, Churches and Sects in Europe
Church attendance in most European societies has dropped to a very low level. More generally, in Europe religious institutions seem to have lost much of their former significance. From the ... read more
Church attendance in most European societies has dropped to a very low level. More generally, in Europe religious institutions seem to have lost much of their former significance. From the perspective of secularization theories this is what one would expect in modern, highly individualized societies: the demand for religion will decline, individuals will no longer feel a need for faith in the supernatural. By contrast, religious market theories focus not on an alleged decline of religious demand but rather on the suppliers of religion. These theories claim that in Europe regulated and even monopolistic religious markets have resulted in inefficiency and hence much lower religious vitality than in the United States or in other regions of the world.
In the first part of the seminar, theories of religious change will be discussed, such as secularization theories and religious market theories. In the second part, empirical findings regarding religious change in Europe will be analyzed. Two aspects of religion will be distinguished: organized religious behavior on one hand and subjective religious beliefs and attitudes on the other hand. A special emphasis in the seminar will be on the development and on the characteristics of small religious movements ('sects') that often show rapid rates of growth (e.g., Jehova's Witnesses).
Norris, Pippa/Inglehart, Ronald, 2004: Sacred and Secular. Religion and Politics Worldwide. Cambridge.
Stark, Rodney/Bainbridge, William Sims, 1985: The Future of Religion. Secularization, Revival and Cult Formation. Berkeley.
Stark, Rodney/Iannaccone, Laurence R., 1994: A Supply-Side Reinterpretation of the 'Secularization' of Europe, in: Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 33: 230-252.
One oral presentation
Exam: Seminar paper (3,000 words) or three essays (about 1,000 words) or oral exam