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Title: Między sekularyzacją i deprywatyzacją : socjologiczne refleksje wokół polskiej religijności w kontekście europejskim
Authors: Świątkiewicz, Wojciech
Keywords: religijność; społeczeństwo i religia; sekularyzacja; deprywatyzacja religii; Kościół w badaniach socjologicznych
Issue Date: 2010
Publisher: Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Śląskiego
Abstract: Society and religion form an integral whole. Each figure of the social life remains in its peculiar connections with the signs of the religious life. The answer to the question on what religion is and what relations it has with an individual, as well as reflections of a collective life depends on the assumed cognitive perspective. Certainly, a theologian, philosopher, pedagogue and psychologist will answer it differently. From the perspective of sociological reflections, religion may be treated as the category of culture which is combined with the structures of the social life in a specific way. As we know from history and contemporary observations, the relations between society and religion are different. In some cultures, religion fully permeates all structures and functions of social life whereas in others, its role is restricted and marginalised. Looking at religion in a sociological way, one can underline that religion is expressed by cultural patterns of a social life, both an individual and collective one, which in the Christian tradition is usually described by the church category. In this sense, Church is an institution, but also a community and when we analyze the reflections of religion presence in social life, there is more to it than institutionally organized forms of socio-religious life, i.e. axiological basis of the social order, understanding man and his/her life values, ways of thinking, basic moral notions, assessment criteria and stores of basic knowledge religion and Church equip their congregation, as well as all those who remain within the scope of their influence, with. The basic social function of religion towards society consists in legitimising the order of social world and sense of living, legitimising, namely, authorizing and giving meaning and value to it, structurising and hierarchising it through references to extra-empirical, supernatural, revealed, holy truths of faith, deriving from traditions and holy books, constituting the content of religious doctrine. The cultural paradigm of examining religiousness assumed in the work allows for treating the sociology of religion as an empirical science, the generalizations of which are based on the analysis of facts and processes objectively existing in a religious life and other spheres of culture funcionally connected with religion. Religiousness is understood as the degree and quality of participation of particular people and social groups in the institutionalised religious system, with consequences revealing themselves in attitudes and actions in different spheres of social life. Religiousness expresses itselfin man’s attitude to institutionalised values, norms and symbols which individuals experience as religious ones. It is also composed of practices and norms which a religious institution (Church) presents as binding, and which a religionus man considers personally as such. The cultural paradigm of examining religion and religiousness allows for going beyond positivist perspectives and treating religiousness both as a social and anthropological (human) phenomenon. Referring religion to the global system of culture allows for wide, interconfessional and interdisciplinary studies of religion reflections in its cultural costumes. Mutual relations between religion and society undergo a historical change, which is appropriately illustrated by contemporary notions of secularization and deprivatisation. It is common knowledge that secularization means the processes of marginalization of institutionalised religion presence in the elements of collective life, its privatisation being transformed in laicisation of mentality. It is accompanied by a dismantlement of Church infrastructure and treating the right to the individual conscience freed from being directed by religious premises as an ultimate criterion solving the problems of faith and morality. As a result of secularization processes, religion transforms in an individual faith whereas morality in subjective conscience. Deprivatisation of religion means the processes of the return of religious doctrine, religious values and its institutionalised dimensions on the stages of the social life theatre, both on the normative and behavioural level. Secularization and deprivatisation are social processes the nature and course of which are conditioned historically and culturally, i.e. their relations shape differently and “sinusoidally” in different historical and cultural epochs. Secularization and deprivatisation form theoretical frames of reflection on legitimising function of religion towards social world. In contemporary discussions on the role, place and function of religion, Church, religiousness in globalised world the socio-cultural specificity is described by sociologists among other things by means of the category of social differentiation, deinstitutionalisation, cultural pluralism and structural individualism take place around the paradigms of secularization and deprivatisation. It seems that the inspiring and cognitive function of the secularization paradigm which has recently been dominant in social sciences, gives in to the deprivatization paradigm confronted with socio-cultural reality of the processes accentuating the role and importance of religion, Churches and religiousness in structures of globalised world. A new theoretical and methodological perspective in sociological studies on religion in the contemporary culture is most frequently combined with works by Jose Casanova, a Spanish sociologist. Within the secularization paradigm, referring to religious contexts of economic, social, political and moral processes is considered the questioning of the principles of rationality and attempt of turning the history back. Religious faith has become one of many possibilities that were supposed to be the subject of axiological choices. A social modernization has not fully eliminated the role of religion in their functions of explaining and justifying the senses and aims of life. The relations betwen modernisation and secularization are becoming multidimensionally conditioned and take place according to the principles of “various speeds”. Interesting in this context are the conclusions formulated by R. Inglehart and P. Norris who examine multiple connections between religiousness and condition of the “society of risk”. The growth of existential security and richness facilitates the decrease of religiousness. Rich societies are becoming more secular, but theworld is becoming more religious. A unanimously understood interdependence that growing standards of living, as a consequence of progressive modernization, increases the sense of existential security, is not certain. “Wandering” religiousness appears in places in which it seemed to irrevocably withdraw. A global perspective seems to favour the thesis that only from a Europocentric point of view one can treat secularization as a universal process. European exceptionalism is explained by J. Casanova by historical process of Church’s symbiosis (as a community of cult) with the national state, which caused the Churches to take over the role of a caretaker of collective memory and representative of the imagined national community, but, at the same time, the loss of the ability to function as the religion of individual salvation. Europeans, losing faith in their national Churches, do not look for alternative religions of salvation and remain hidden members of their Churches, even if they leave them openly. Religion, Church and religiousness remain a public good and are important elements of a social life taking on new challenges the development of civilization brings. A good illustration of a contemporary active presence of religion in a public political and economic life are the examples in favour of solving problems of world danger, namely climatic changes, which are also the answer of world religions to the expectations directed at them on the part of international political and economic communities. Peter Berger, on the basis of the analyses of global processes in the context of world religions draws the following conclusion: “As far as big international religious movements of our times are concerned, I would risk to formulate a statement that Evangelicalism with its sacred leadership and community activeness may give a certain type of a protodemocratic training to their advocates. I would be more cautious as for the Islam revival, although the book by Robert Hefner has convinced me that the Islam tradition has nothing that is in its nature opposite to democracy. (...) a new standpoint to democracy taken over by the Catholic Church since the Second Vatican Council, constituted an important factor in the processes of democratisation of different countries, especially in sothern Europe, in Latin America, the Philippines and Catholic churches of the former Soviet Imperium”. Jose Casanova, when bringing his theory closer to deprivatisation, declares: “I cannot find an important reason to eliminate religion from a democratic public event, on a democratic or liberal level. One can, at the most, for pragmatic historical reasons defend the need to separate Church from state, although I am no longer convinced if a complete separation is a necessary or ultimate condition of democracy. The attempt to establish a wall of separation between religion and politics is not justified and at the same time probably brings about the opposite result to the intended one”. Even though we assume that a paradigm of secularization does not experience a sort of crisis, certainly, it is not any of the circumstances that would justify the announcement of the cessation of secularization processes. Deprivatisation does not eliminate secularization processes though it allows for showing the roles and functions of religion, Church and religiousness, a priori disavowed and skipped but changing in the practices of a collective and individual social life, in the culture, politics, economy, in different types of social systems and citizen society. Secularization, though, is not only a withdrawal of religion and its institutionalised base from the spheres of public life, but also the possibility of its conditioned allocation in deep spheres of personal privateness. In other words, religiousness can be conditionally accepted in a secularistic paradigm of society as long as it remains a private sphereof an individual and does not enter the stage of the theatre of public life, inscribing itself in a visible way into the social roles being played. Such an understanding of the privatisation of religion and religiousness composes the political category, or, more precisely, a cultural correctness creating the expected and to some extent, obliging or even enforced norms regulating the patterns of participation of an individual in a public life. An interesting illustration of this “cultural rule” is an interpretation of the state of collective mentality of the Czech society diagnosed before the visit of Benedict XVI the Pope in this place. “What worries me before the Pope’s trip is the silence of Catholics in the media. In the Czech Republic Church is elite in a sense, and many intelectuals, people of culture and science belong to it. They experience their faith privately and are afraid of taking a part when Church is being spoken of”. The meeting of religion and cultures permeates the real experience of an every-day life of societies. Sometimes it facilitates ghettoisation and accentuation of conflicts axiologically and institutionally legitimised, in other cases, it takes on the form of co-presence, tolerance or interreligious and intercultural cooperation built on the basis of “holy” religious canons. There are numerous examples of the processes filling in the social space spreading from secularization and deprivatisation. Religion is present in the structures of social life and in culture. It is present both when it creates the premises of social actions taken, legitimises the moral order and culture, but also when it is the subject of criticism and exclusion. Different European communities are in different segments of this religious- cultural space, more or less distant from its extreme poles. There is no one single model of religiousness changes and one single rule. Even though the world religions undergo changes in the circumstances of modernization and globalization, the very transformations are expressed in very different shapes. I am familiar with the point of view underlining the understanding of the problem of the presence of religion in the structures of the social world and its legitimising functions in a dynamic perspective, or, in other terms, “multidirectional changes”. Both nowadays and in the future, one should study the religions and Churches, namely, religiousness and Churchness in the society of a deepening socio-cultural pluralism in which, theoretically speaking, everything can happen. Changes of religiousness take place gradually in different directions, sinusoidally and incoherently. According to William Ogburn’s hypothesis of “cultural delay” they go in pendular swings to one and to the other side. In contrast to pendulum movements, cultural-religious changes are never either similar or the same. It is advisable to study both the diagnosis of the rhythm of changes and discover new meanings and values ascribed to “the same” phenomena, social processes and structures. The ideologies of (post)modernity do not solve all human existential problems to an extent giving satisfaction from finding the senses and aims of life. They themselves seem to drift into the abyss of subsequent crises. Sentencing religion to an inevitable death or a far-reaching privatisation, is at least premature. It is the very processes and religious-cultural phenomena filling in the social space between secularization and deprivatisation that constitute the subject of sociological reflections included in this book. The first chapter is an attempt of a theoreticising characteristic of the legitimising function of religion in the processes of the social world creation. The second chapter analyses the contemporary processes of secularization and laicisation in the context of culture globalization. The third chapter treats about the phe-nomenon of the weakening the model of secularization in favour of the processes of a new return of religion into the spheres of public life. Chapter four on religious practices in “cultural costume” shows cultural contexts of religiousness patterns, by means of which religion updates in individual and collective rhythms of a social life. The next two chapters are treated as an empirical illustration of the processes and religious-social phenomena filling in the space between secularization and deprivatisation. The main source of the data in question is the interpretation of the results of various sociological empirical studies, as well as informative agencies referring to the socio-religious events in Poland and Europe.
ISBN: 9788322619346
Appears in Collections:Książki/rozdziały (WNS)

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