You are not currently logged in. Please create an account or log in to view the full course.

Religion and Modernity

1. Clarifications and Terminology

This is the course trailer. Please create an account or log in to view this lecture.

  • Description
  • Cite

About this Lecture


In this lecture, we clarify the meaning of the term “modernity”, focusing in particular on: (i) the distinction between “modernity” as a set of structural transformations in politics, economy and society, and “modernism” as a cultural phenomenon; (ii) the relationship between socio-economic structure and culture, as this is understood by Karl Marx and Max Weber; (iii) the issue of timing in thinking about modernity, in which we consider several options for demarcating the beginning of modernity, and opt for the transformations associated with the Enlightenment and the Industrial Revolution in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.


In this course, Professor Grace Davie (University of Exeter) considers the relationship between religion and modernity. In the first lecture, we clarify the meaning of the term “modernity”. In the second lecture, we look at the trajectories of religion in Europe, noting that modernisation entailed secularisation. In the third lecture, we look at the trajectories of religion in the US, where religion and modernity have been mutually reinforcing. Next, we explore changes to modernity in the late-twentieth century, how they influenced religion, and whether the terms “late modernity” and “post modernity” are useful in characterising them. In the fifth lecture, we interrogate whether there is a universal narrative of religion and modernity through Shmuel Eisenstadt’s notion of “multiple modernities". In the sixth and final lecture, we conclude with Professor Davie’s thoughts on this question.


Professor Grace Davie is Professor Emeritus in Sociology at the University of Exeter. She is a leading sociologist of religion and has written widely on religion in the modern world. Her publications include Religion in Public Life: Levelling the Ground (2017), Religion in Britain: A Persistent Paradox (2015), and The Sociology of Religion: A Critical Agenda (2013).

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Davie, G. (2021, October 06). Religion and Modernity - Clarifications and Terminology [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Davie, G. "Religion and Modernity – Clarifications and Terminology." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 06 Oct 2021,

Image Credits

Get instant access to over 7,200 lectures