Secularization and Welsh Religiosity

  • Paul Chambers


Secularization and structural differentiation are key concepts in the analysis of religion in contemporary Europe, not least because they constitute both the conditions under which religion increasingly operates and the pervasive backdrop to any contemporary discussion of religion and religious institutions. While some commentators have sought to deny the existence of secularization (Stark 1999) it is clear that modern societies are more secular than they used to be (Bruce 2002, 63–73). Compared to the past religion has measurably lost social significance within the public sphere and has progressively shifted to the margins where it continues to persist, albeit under conditions of structural differentiation. Private religiosity may endure and in certain national contexts religious institutions may continue to exert considerable influence on the public sphere relative to other national contexts. Nevertheless, the underlying patterns are evident in Western societies and this is particularly so in Wales, a country customarily associated with a strong identification with religion but where the influence of religious institutions is diminishing rapidly as they have become progressively disengaged from Welsh society.


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© VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften | GWV Fachverlage GmbH, Wiesbaden 2006

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  • Paul Chambers

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