Religious America, Secular Europe?: A Theme and Variations

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9780754658337: Religious America, Secular Europe?: A Theme and Variations

Europe is a relatively secular part of the world in global terms. Why is this so? And why is the situation in Europe so different from that in the United States? These are the key questions considered in this book; key questions (the theme) clearly articulated in the first chapter.Subsequent chapters explore the nature of Eurosecularity in more detail (the variations on the theme) - paying attention to its historical, philosophical and institutional dimensions. They also ask how the question of Eurosecularity is related to social difference (class, ethnicity etc.). In each chapter, the similarities and differences with the American case will be carefully examined. The final chapter explores the ways in which these features translate into policy on both sides of the Atlantic. This book is highly topical and relates very directly to the tensions between Europe and America in the present period.

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About the Author:

Peter Berger is University Professor of Sociology and Theology at Boston University, he is known all over the world for his work in sociology, including the sociology of religion. He has taught at the New School for Social Research, at Rutgers University, and at Boston College. Grace Davie holds a personal chair in the Sociology of Religion at the University of Exeter. Effie Fokas gained her Ph D from the London School of Economics in 2004. She is currently working as a research assistant at the University of Exeter.

Review:

'If you have heard Texans talking about Europe, especially France, or some Germans talking about the USA, especially its religion, you know there is a very big problem: this important book explains why.'
David Martin, London School of Economics, UK

'Once a global outlook makes evident that the secularization of Europe is rather exceptional, the old theory that explained the secularity of Europe in terms of its modernity is no longer plausible. This book turns the tables on the European theory of American exceptionalism. It is not the vibrant religiosity of America that is exceptional and requires an explanation, but rather the radical secularity of European societies. Why do Europeans believe that to be modern requires to be secular, leaving their old religion behind? The distinct voices of three prominent sociologists add up to a new interpretation of the complex European religious/secular puzzle.' <>br> Jose Casanova, Georgetown University, USA

'... it is refreshing to find such a cogent book that lucidly debunks so many of the cherished arguments of secularisation theory. The hypothesis that Europe is normal and secular because of modernity and the Enlightenment is no longer plausible - because the vibrancy of religiosity in America (and other developed and developing nations) suggests that it is Europe's secularity that is specious, and requires an explanation... a rich and thought-provoking account of why two continents, an ocean apart, have produced such markedly different kinds of religiosity in contemporary society.'
Church Times

'This book is small but dense. Its arguments are well constructed and avoid leaping to simple conclusions about very complex matters... Recommended.'
Choice

'The authors of this volume interact with a wide variety of studies and works on the subject of (post-)secularization, making it an excellent introduction to the field. The reader will find plentiful statistics, anecdotes and theories which challenge assumptions most of us share owing to the former dominance of secularization theory, even in popular thought. The book does not offer a grand explanation or a comprehensive counter-theory; it goes much further in raising multiple questions than leaving the reader assured of answers. The reader will almost certainly be stimulated to think and read further on the role of religion in contemporary societies.'
Theology

'... [this book] is clearly written (a joy to read), it is clearly argued on a core topic of contemporary concern (even if the secularization debate is technically over, generations of students will have to study it), and it is clearly important not just as part of contemporary religious life but also at the practical level, i.e. for ministers and church leaders. Such clarity should not be confined to an academic group. This is potentially a text book on religion for student theologians and pastors. I very warmly commend it as such... This is a powerful book that offers an attempt to provide an alternative to secularism. It indicates, too, that western societies, and even more alliances, will have to take religion into account in their planning and strategic thinking. I think it also implies, though it does not say so directly, that the churches will find themselves side-lined unless they can find a theory and theology of religion that will account for the vast movements of world religions and for their impact on the beliefs of individuals.' --Wesley Carr, Ecclesiology

'... this is a very dense, rich book, which engages a wide range of empirical materials, issues and theoretical models. The collaboration of leading scholars from across the Atlantic has contributed to producing a productive and complex account. The comparative agenda turns out to be fruitful and fills an important lacuna in the sociological literature on religion in multiple modernities.' --Religion

'What makes [this book] most useful to experts and students alike is the careful approach to explaining complex social and political phenomena: if we want to render processes of secularization intelligible, we need to take into account a number of intersecting material and immaterial dimensions... a good read for anybody specifically interested in a more mainstream narrative grounded in the sociology of religion.'

Religion and Society - Advances in Research

'This is a valuable book... It helps to see how the process of the debate takes place, how historical developments left institutional, intellectual, social, and political sediments that frame the position of (public and private) religion in a society.'
Church History and Religious Culture
'... will be useful for university undergraduates or other newcomers to the sociological study of religion, and it will offer such readers a solid grounding in the pertinent issues along with an impressive range of secondary references from the field. The authors also present several intriguing social observations...'
Political Studies Review

'Berger brings to the book an outstanding understanding of contemporary religion in the USA as well as involvement in debates about the sociology of religion over many years, while Davie is an expert in the European scene. Fokas has an understanding of the Orthodox tradition in Europe and so together, the three can speak with considerable authority and insight. In addition to this, the volume makes use of empirical data drawn from a range of disciplines, emphasising yet again that religion cannot be studied as an isolated topic: the dynamic interaction of different histories, religious identities, and social and political trends produces the complexities with which politicians and citizens alike contend.'

Modern Believing

'... the description and discussion of the religious differences between the United States and Europe, is interesting and gives much food for thought.'
Journal of Religion in Europe

'The work makes a worthy contribution to the body of knowledge on the topic. The authors succeed to convince the reader of their claims regarding secularism and religion. The intended audience of the book is Americans and Europeans. The writing style is characterised by coherence, clarity, originality and conciseness. The book challenged my previous ideas on religious America and secular Europe and made me abandon some assumptions, whilst reinforcing others.' --Studia Historiae Ecclesiasticae

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Berger, P; Davie, G; Fokas, E
Editore: Ashgate Pub Co, Hants U.K. (2008)
ISBN 10: 0754658333 ISBN 13: 9780754658337
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Descrizione libro Ashgate Pub Co, Hants U.K., 2008. Hardcover. Condizione libro: As New. Like New. Codice libro della libreria 034393

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