Modern Subjectivities and Religions in a Post-Westphalian World Society: Reconstructing the Universal Through Lived Particularities

  • Peter BeyerEmail author
Part of the Palgrave Studies in International Relations book series (PSIR)


This chapter offers a theoretical interpretation of how individualized subjectivities in today’s modern and global society operate as a key normative feature of that world society, and specifically how the individualized way that these subjectivities enact themselves is instrumental for the construction, reproduction, and transformation of the small-scale (micro), mid-range (meso) and large-scale (macro) social systems of that society. The core argument is as follows: modern subjectivities in world society are constructed personal narratives that root the reproduction of social structures in the performance of what the communication or social action of that society understands to be individual centers of identification. These subjectivities are conceived as both distinct from the larger structures (micro and meso, and not just macro), while also constituting necessary bases of those structures.


World Society Modern Subjectivity Shadow Institutions Religious Subjectivities post-Westphalian Condition 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. Ahlemeyer, Heinrich W. 1995. Soziale Bewegungen als Kommunikationssystem: Einheit, Umweltverhältnis und Funktion eines sozialen Phänomens. Leverkusen: Leske & Budrich.Google Scholar
  2. Anderson, Gordon L. 2007. A Post-Westphalian World and the Quest for Self-Determination. International Journal on World Peace 4: 1–10.Google Scholar
  3. Berger, Peter L. 1967. The Sacred Canopy: Elements of a Sociological Theory of Religion. New York: Doubleday Anchor.Google Scholar
  4. Berman, Harold J. 1983. Law and Revolution: The Formation of the Western Legal Traditions. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  5. Beyer, Peter. 2005. The Future of Non-Christian Religions in Canada: Patterns of Religious Identification Among Recent Immigrants and Their Second Generation, 1981–2001. Studies in Religion/Sciences Religieuses 34: 165–196.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Beyer, Peter. 2006. Religions in Global Society. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  7. Beyer, Peter. 2011. Religious Pluralization and Intimations of a Post-Westphalian Condition in a Global Society. In Annual Review of the Sociology of Religion, Volume 2: Religion and Politics, ed. Patrick Michel and Enzo Pace, 3–29. Leiden: Brill.Google Scholar
  8. Beyer, Peter. 2012. Socially Engaged Religion in a Post-Westphalian Global Context: Remodeling the Secular/Religious Distinction. Sociology of Religion 73 (2): 109–129.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Beyer, Peter, Alyshea Cummins, and Scott Craig. Forthcoming. Religious/Spiritual Identity among Younger Adults in Canada: A Complex Portrait. In Young People and the Diversity of (Non)Religious Identities in International Perspective, ed. Elisabeth Arweck and Heather Shipley. Berlin: Springer.Google Scholar
  10. Bibby, Reginald W. 2002. Restless Gods: The Renaissance of Religion in Canada. Toronto: Stoddart.Google Scholar
  11. Bobineau, Olivier, and Sébastien Tank-Storper. 2012. Sociologie des religions. Paris: Armand Colin.Google Scholar
  12. Boli, John, and George M. Thomas (eds.). 1999. Constructing World Culture: International Nongovernmental Organizations Since 1875. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
  13. Campbell, Heidi. 2010. When Religion Meets New Media. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  14. Carrette, Jeremy, and Richard King. 2005. Selling Spirituality: The Silent Takeover of Religion. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  15. Castells, Manuel. 2010. The Rise of the Network Society. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell.Google Scholar
  16. Gauthier, François, and Tuomas Martikainen (eds.). 2013. Religion in Consumer Society: Brands, Consumers and Markets. Farnham, UK: Ashgate.Google Scholar
  17. Geertz, Clifford. 1966. Religion as a Cultural System. In Anthropological Approaches to the Study of Religion, ed. Michael Bainton, 1–46. London: Tavistock.Google Scholar
  18. Guidry, John A., Michale D. Kennedy, and Mayer N. Zald (eds.). 2000. Globalizations and Social Movements: Culture, Power, and the Transnational Public Sphere. Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press.Google Scholar
  19. Hall, David D. (ed.). 1997. Lived Religion in America: Toward a History of Practice. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  20. Heelas, Paul L., Linda Woodhead, et al. 2005. The Spiritual Revolution: Why Religion Is Giving Way to Spirituality. Oxford: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  21. Hervieu-Léger, Danièle. 1999. Le pèlerin et le converti: La religion en mouvement. Paris: Flammarion.Google Scholar
  22. Hoover, Stewart M. 1988. Mass Media Religion: The Social Sources of the Electronic Church. Newbury Park, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  23. Houtman, Dick, and Stef Aupers. 2007. The Spiritual Turn and the Decline of Tradition: The Spread of Post-Christian Spirituality in 14 Western Countries, 1981–2000. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 46 (3): 305–320.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Huff, Toby E. 2003. The Rise of Early Modern Science: Islam, China, and the West. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  25. Linklater, Andrew. 1996. Citizenship and Sovereignty in the Post-Westphalian State. European Journal in International Relations 2 (1): 77–103.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Luhmann, Niklas. 1971. Die Weltgesellschaft. Archiv für Rechts- und Sozialphilosophie 57: 1–35.Google Scholar
  27. Luhmann, Niklas. 1984. Soziale Systeme: Grundriß einer allgemeinen Theorie. Frankfurt/M.: Suhrkamp.Google Scholar
  28. Luhmann, Niklas. 1997. Die Gesellschaft der Gesellschaft. Frankfurt/M.: Suhrkamp.Google Scholar
  29. Luhmann, Niklas. 2012. Theory of Society, Volmue 1. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
  30. Lynch, Gordon, Jolyon Mitchell, and Anna Strhan (eds.). 2012. Religion, Media and Culture: A Reader. Routledge: New York.Google Scholar
  31. Martin, David. 2000. Canada in Comparative Perspective. In Rethinking Church, State, and Modernity, ed. David Lyon and Marguerite Van Die, 23–33. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.Google Scholar
  32. McGuire, Meredith. 2008. Lived Religion: Faith and Practice in Everyday Life. New York: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Meyer, John W., John Boli, George M. Thomas, and Francisco O. Ramirez (eds.). 1997. World Society and the Nation-State. American Journal of Sociology 103 (1): 144–181.Google Scholar
  34. Orsi, Robert A. 2005. Between Heaven and Earth: The Religious Worlds People Make and the Scholars Who Study Them. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. Google Scholar
  35. Pollack, Detlef, and Gergely Rosta. 2015. Religion in der Moderne: Ein internationaler Vergleich. Frankfurt/M.: Campus Verlag.Google Scholar
  36. Roof, Wade Clark. 1999. Spiritual Marketplace: Baby Boomers and the Remaking of American Religion. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  37. Simmel, Georg. 1971. How Is Social Order Possible. In On Individuality and Social Forms: Selected Writings, ed. Donald N. Levine, 6–22. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  38. Stark, Rodney, and Roger Finke. 2000. Acts of Faith: Explaining the Human Side of Religion. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  39. Statistics Canada. 2011. National Household Survey, Statistics Canada Catalogue no. 99-010-X2011032.
  40. Taylor, Charles. 2007. A Secular Age. Cambridge, MA: Belknap Harvard.Google Scholar
  41. Thiessen, Joel. 2015. The Meaning of Sunday: The Practice of Belief in a Secular Age. Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press.Google Scholar
  42. Wallerstein, Immanuel. 1974–1980. The Modern World System, 3 vols. New York: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  43. Weber, Max. 1992 [1930]. The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  44. Woodhead, Linda. 2010. Real Religion and Fuzzy Spirituality? Taking Sides in the Sociology of Religion. In Religions of Modernity: Relocating the Sacred of the Self and the Digital Age, ed. Stef Aupers and Dick Houtman, 31–48. Leiden: Brill.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of OttawaOttawaCanada

Personalised recommendations