From the Secularization of the State to the Deprivatization of Religion and Faith-Based Initiatives Policy in the USA

JVF Conference Papers

The paradigm of secularization has been the main theoretical and analytical framework through which the social sciences have viewed the relationship of religion and modernity. According to Jose Casanova, however, academics usually try to present a single theory of secularization, while these theories are actually all made up of three unintegrated propositions. The first one sees secularization as the differentiation of the secular spheres from religious institutions and norms. The second presents secularization as decline of religious beliefs and practices, and the third one views secularization as the marginalization of religion to a privatized sphere. Casanova argues that the fruitless secularization debate can end only when sociologists of religion begin to examine and test the validity of each of the three propositions independently of each other.

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