For W 1/31

Davie, chapters 1-2

Each group will be assigned one quotation. You will need to address two questions: (A) what does the quotation mean? and, (B) why is the quotation important in the context of the chapter?

1. “The traditional structures of religious life, deeply embedded in the economic and political order of pre-modern Europe, were crumbling visibly under the mutually reinforcing pressures of industrialization and urbanization.” (p 23)

2. “Societal functions that were previously dominated by the church (education, healthcare, etc.) became increasingly autonomous.” (p 25)

3. “Institutional religion, at least in its traditional forms, is in trouble (a fact that is rarely disputed), but so are the corresponding institutions of political and economic life. That is the crucial point. Both political parties and trade unions are struggling to maintain members (and therefore income) in exactly the same way as the mainstream churches.” (p 27)

4. “The global situation is changing, however. It is becoming more and more difficult to ignore the presence of religion in the modern world or to claim that this is really something else.” (p 28)

5. “Religion is a form of alienation; it is a symptom of social malformation which disguises the exploitative relationships of capitalist society. Religion persuades people that such relationships are natural and, therefore, acceptable.” (p 48)

6. “The connections between particular ways of thinking (including religious ones) and the material interests of particular groups of people are not random: they are mutually reinforcing and mutually advantageous.” (p 49)

7. “The theoretical position follows from this: religion as such will always be present for it performs a necessary function. The precise nature of that religion will, however, differ between one society and another and between different periods of time in order to achieve an appropriate ‘fit’ between religion and the prevailing social order.” (p 53)

8. “It follows that modern people are not necessarily less religious than their forebears, but differently so as the forms of religion mutate together with the society of which they are part. Changes in religious forms are part and parcel of the shifts taking place in modern societies as life becomes increasingly segmentalized.” (p 53)