Secularization, Secularity, and the Secular: Religion and Its Place in Social Life

  • Carolina Ivanescu
Part of the Religion and Global Migrations book series (RGM)


Secularization, secularity, and the secular are concepts that determine the place and role of religion in contemporary social life, especially in the Western world, and even more so in Europe. In a nutshell, secularization assumes that the secular and the religious are two categories that pertain to different spheres of life and are opposed to each other. It maintains that religion has lost its importance, while the secular has taken its place. It envisages religion to be of no more use, socially or individually. It is a collective imaginary, and although the details vary from one continent to the other, and from one country to the other, it is a familiar theme and we all engage with it in one way or the other. Secularity represents the way secularization and the secular are dealt with, in that the secular is the domain where secularity and secularization have meaning. While the secular is mostly understood in opposition to the sacred and the transcendental, secularity both structures and orders the social imaginary and social experiences according to the principle of secularization. This conceptual triangle cannot be taken apart in practice: secularization, the secular, and secularity are codependent, while they all define the role and meaning of religion.


Social Life Public Sphere Private Sphere Religious Discourse Separate Sphere 
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© Carolina Ivanescu 2016

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  • Carolina Ivanescu

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