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Secularisation and Religion in Sociology

5. Rethinking Secularisation in Sociology

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About this Lecture


In this lecture, we consider the extent to which previous ideas about secularisation need to be rethought, in light of the continued importance of religion evident across the world, focusing in particular on: (i) Peter Berger’s later work, in which he turned against the secularisation thesis and argued that Sociology was not sufficiently attentive to the non-Western world; (ii) the continued usefulness of David Martin’s context-specific model; (iii) the rise of the “nones” – people who identify as having no religion – in the West, and what this phenomenon tells us about secularisation.


In this course, Professor Grace Davie (University of Exeter) explores thinking about secularisation and religion in Sociology. In the first lecture, we think about the centrality of secularisation in the theories of three “founding fathers” of the discipline – Karl Marx, Max Weber, and Émile Durkheim. In the second lecture, we examine the development of secularisation theory in the twentieth century, including the “strong” version outlined by Bryan Wilson and Steve Bruce. In the third lecture, we think about the context-specific approach advocated by David Martin and Professor Davie. Next, we consider global perspectives which challenge the idea of secularisation. In the fifth lecture, we consider whether it is necessary to rethink previous ideas about religion and secularisation. In the sixth and final lecture, we look at some important current trends and think about possible futures for religion.


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. (2022, January 14). Secularisation and Religion in Sociology - Rethinking Secularisation in Sociology [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Davie, G. "Secularisation and Religion in Sociology – Rethinking Secularisation in Sociology." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 14 Jan 2022,

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