Secularization and the ‘Decline’ of Religion

  • Stephen J. Hunt
Part of the Sociology for a Changing World book series (SCW)


As a survey of the literature would suggest, the sociology of religion has been preoccupied with the debate surrounding the secularization thesis. In turn, this debate is hedged in by the problems of definition. The popular assumption is that it simply denotes the decline of religion. However, this is to oversimplify a complex area which needs to be addressed in more detail. This chapter and Chapter 3 consider the theme of secularization, overview the problems associated with it, and examine the evidence that points to a possible decline, resurgence or, alternatively, the increasing plurality of religiosity.


Western Society Church Attendance Religious Involvement Religious Institution Church Membership 
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© Stephen J. Hunt 2002

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  • Stephen J. Hunt

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