NCSR 2008 - Urban Diversity and Religious Traditions
13-15 August 2008, Åbo Akademi University

Local and regional secularization

Jørgen Straarup, University of Gävle

Although a notion of secularization in the line of reasoning proposed by Bryan Wilson has generally been refuted, i.e as a world wide, general process of religious decline, the concept still has valuable potential for those parts of the world to which it has recently been limited, Western, and perhaps particularly North Western Europe. One might say that the concept has been confined to analyses on the levels "macro" to "micro", whereas the level "omnibus" is to be abandoned by secularization theoreticians.

Already David Martin noted that there are many kinds of secularization. In the workshop this line of thought is to be explored, on macro, meso and micro levels. Martin concentrated on macro levels in his analysis of national differences, but it seems that the variation on the regional (meso) and local (micro) levels still leaves a lot to be analysed. How come that some regions and localities among church historians and church practitioners have acquired a reputation of being more "pious" or "religiously indifferent" than others? What factors (at different levels) have been influential in such a development?

The workshop will attempt to reach a practical, as well as a theoretical, understanding of secularization at different levels.