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Religion in the global space: approaches, definitions and issues in Western sociology

Elena D. Rutkevich, Candidate of Philosophy, Associate professor, leading researcher, , Candidate of Philosophical Sciences, Leading Research Fellow, Institute of Sociology of FCTAS RAS Moscow, Russia
mailto: erutkevich@yandex.ru
Religion in the global space: approaches, definitions and issues in Western sociology.
Vestnik instituta sotziologii. 2017. Vol. 8. No. 1. P. 131-161

DOI: 10.19181/vis.2017.20.1.447

This Article is downloaded: 365 times
Topic: To the methodology of scientific research

For citation:
Elena D. Rutkevich. Religion in the global space: approaches, definitions and issues in Western sociology. Vestnik instituta sotziologii. 2017. Vol. 8. No. 1. P. 131-161
DOI: https://doi.org/10.19181/vis.2017.20.1.447


A few global trends have emerged lately in the realm of Western sociology of religion. Occurring is a critical reassessment of the connection between modernization and secularization, of the irreversibility and universality of secularization processes, which is leading to a revision of the secularization theory and to a shift from endless arguments about secularization towards a more productive cultural-historical and empirical evaluation of “public religions”, “multiple globalizations” and “multiple secularizations”, and “de-privatization of religion”. A new approach towards examining religion, namely – “ideological criticism”, is garnering considerable feedback and prevalence, calling into question the customary (Euro-centered) descriptions and definitions for religion, problematizing the terms “religion” and “secular”, which do not exist without one another. Established is a new outlook on “religion” and “spirituality”, which leads to the gradual development of a new discipline – “sociology of spirituality”. Evangelical Christianity is becoming widespread around the world, gaining special influence: in combination with local religions, it is leading to the hybridization and syncretism of religious traditions. These changes do not indicate a decline, but rather a “resurgence” and growth of religion, albeit often in a different form and nature, which promotes the development of a new outlook on religious phenomena, new approaches to their evaluation, and the emergence of a new discourse on European post-secular societies. The main focus of this article is certain approaches and issues which emerge when examining these tendencies.


religion, secular, modernity, secularization, spirituality, deprivatization of religion, religious changes, globalization, sociology of spirituality, post-secular perspective.


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