Secularization and the impotence of individualized religion

Steve Bruce

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The secularization paradigm combines two things: an assertion about changes in
the presence and nature of religion, and a collection of related explanations of
those changes. It is not a universally applicable scientific law, but a description
and explanation of the past of European societies and their settler offspring. Contrary to often repeated caricatures, it is not a simple evolutionary model and does not imply a single uniform future—but it does suppose that there are “socio-logics” to societal changes. Some changes go together; others do not. For example, feudal societies can have effective state churches; culturally diverse liberal democracies cannot. And that is not an accident. As I show below, it can be explained by fundamental features of the latter sort of society.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)35-45
Number of pages11
JournalThe Hedgehog Review
VolumeSpring and summer
Publication statusPublished - 2006


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