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Sacred and Secular: Religion and Politics Worldwide (Cambridge Studies in Social Theory, Religion and Politics) Paperback – February 2, 2012

ISBN-13: 978-1107648371 ISBN-10: 1107648378 Edition: 2nd

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Product Details

  • Series: Cambridge Studies in Social Theory, Religion and Politics
  • Paperback: 392 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press; 2 edition (February 2, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1107648378
  • ISBN-13: 978-1107648371
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 6 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #537,385 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"This second edition is an outstanding contribution to the new thought among social scientists about the process of secularization... Norris and Inglehart present convincing arguments soundly anchored in extensive systematic research from around the globe...[They] provide a brilliant, well-written, and thoroughly convincing second edition of what will surely become a classic in the field. This is an indispensable work for any college-level class concerned with the role of religion in the contemporary world. Summing Up: Essential." -J.J. Preston, Sonoma State University, CHOICE Magazine

Book Description

Nineteenth-century thinkers predicted that religion would gradually fade in importance with the emergence of industrial society, and the belief that religion was dying became the conventional wisdom in the social sciences during most of the twentieth century. Today, religion has not disappeared and is unlikely to do so, but the concept of secularization captures an important part of what is going on. In this context, this book develops a theory of secularization and existential security. This second edition confirms that the publics of advanced industrial societies have been moving toward more secular orientations during the past fifty years, but also that the world as a whole now has more people with traditional religious views than ever before.

More About the Author

PIPPA NORRIS is a comparative political scientist who has taught at Harvard for two decades. She is the McGuire Lecturer in Comparative Politics at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University and ARC Laureate Fellow and Professor of Government and International Relations at the University of Sydney.

Recent honors include award of the 2011 Johan Skytte prize in political science, with Ronald Inglehart, the 2011 Kathleen Fitzpatrick Australian Laureate Fellowship, a 'special recognition' award by the UK Political Science Association, and a Doctor honoris causa by the University of Edinburgh.

Her research compares public opinion and elections, democratic institutions and cultures, gender politics, and political communications in many countries worldwide. She is currently engaged in a major new project, www.electoralintegrityproject.com .

A well-known public speaker and prolific author, she has published almost forty books. This includes a series for Cambridge University Press: A Virtuous Circle: Political Communications in Postindustrial Societies (2000, winner of the 2006 Doris A. Graber award for the best book in political communications), Digital Divide: Civic Engagement, Information Poverty and the Internet Worldwide (2001), Democratic Phoenix: Political Activism Worldwide (2002) and Rising Tide: Gender Equality and Cultural Change Around the Globe (with Ronald Inglehart, 2003), Electoral Engineering: Voting Rules and Political Behavior (2004), Sacred and Secular: Religion and Politics Worldwide (with Ronald Inglehart, 2004, winner of the Virginia Hodgkinson prize from the Independent Sector), Radical Right: Voters and Parties in the Electoral Market (2005), Driving Democracy: Do power-sharing institutions work? (2008) and Cosmopolitan Communications: Cultural Diversity in a Globalizing World (2009, with Ronald Inglehart), Democratic Deficit: Critical Citizens Revisited (2011), and Making Democratic Governance Work: The Impact of Regimes on Prosperity, Welfare and Peace (Cambridge University Press 2012). Her latest book under development is Why Electoral Integrity Matters.

Other authored or coauthored books include On Message (1999), Electoral Change Since 1945 (1997), Political Recruitment (1995), British By-elections (1990), Politics and Sexual Equality (1986). Edited books include Britain Votes 2005 (co-edited with Christopher Wlezien, 2005), Framing Terrorism (2003), Britain Votes 2001 (2001), Critical Citizens (1999), Critical Elections (1999), The Politics of News (1998, 2nd edition 2007), Elections and Voting Behaviour (1998), Britain Votes 1997 (1997), Women, Media and Politics (1997), Politics and the Press (1997), Passages to Power (1997), Comparing Democracies (1996, 2nd ed. 2002, 3rd edition 2009), Women in Politics (1996), Different Voices, Different Lives (1994), Gender and Party Politics (1993), British Elections & Parties Yearbook (1991, 1992, 1993). Recently edited reports include Making Democracy Deliver: Governance for Human Development (for UNDP) and Public Sentinel: News Media and the Governance Agenda (World Bank 2010).

She served in 2006-7 as the Director of the Democratic Governance Group at the United Nations Development Program in New York. She has served as an expert consultant for many international bodies including the UN, UNESCO, NDI, the Council of Europe, International IDEA, the OSCE, the World Bank, the National Endowment for Democracy, and the UK Electoral Commission. Her work has been published in more than a dozen languages. Journals articles include those in the British Journal for Political Science, Political Studies, Political Communication, the European Journal of Political Research, the International Political Science Review, Electoral Studies and Legislative Studies, and she co-founded The Harvard International Journal of Press/Politics. She has served on executive bodies for the American Political Science Association (APSA), the International Political Science Association (IPSA), the Political Science Association of the UK (PSA), and the British Politics Group of APSA. She was President of the Political Communications section of APSA and of the Women and Politics Research Group of APSA, and Co-Founding Chair of the Elections, Parties, and Public Opinion Group (EPOP) of the PSA and the Elections, Citizens and Parties group of IPSA. She has held visiting appointments at Columbia University, the University of California-Berkeley, the University of East Anglia, the University of Oslo, the University of Cape Town, Otago University, Sydney University, and the Australian National University. Prior to joining Harvard in 1992, she taught at Edinburgh University. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Politics and Philosophy from Warwick University, and Masters and Doctoral degrees in Politics from the London School of Economics (LSE).

At Harvard she has taught DPI 403: Democratic Governance, DPI 413 Challenges of Democratization, DPI 415 Comparative Politics in Global Perspective, and Gov1109 Comparative Institutional Design in Harvard's Government Department. Full details and publications can be found at: www.pippanorris.com and she can be contacted at Pippa_Norris@Harvard.edu.

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28 of 40 people found the following review helpful By Christian Smith on June 9, 2006
Format: Paperback
This book presents a significant re-statement of secularization theory, framing religion as declining with the advance of "existential security" through modernization and human development. Along the way, the argument interestingly contradicts with strong empirical findings Stark and Finke's "religious economies theory," in a way that will demand a response from them. The book's strengths (and perhaps weakness, in some ways) are its cross-national perspective and survey data, which are all too rare in sociology of religion (although some are skeptical of the reliablity of the World Values Survey) and its attempt to seriously empirically test hypotheses deduced from significant theories. This is an important book in many ways, but note that is also compromised by a number of apparent flaws: 1. It uses mostly cross-sectional data to make claims about historical changes. 2. It perhaps wrongly assumes cohort rather than age effects in its generational analyses. 3. It does not actually even directly measure its key variable of existential security, but relies instead on indirect measures and inferences. 4. It does not well develop theoretically the social psychological and cognitive mechanisms that would lead increased existential security to secularize, leaving the reader to imagine the connections that would make that happen. 5. The major types of societies analyzed are also strongly correlated with different kinds of religions (post-industrial are heavily Protestant, agrarian heavily non-Christian), which the analysis does not always control for well. 6. It focuses on the "mass publics" of various nations, relying on calculated national means, with little attention to potentially important diversity and complexity within cases that matter for the overall argument. 7.Read more ›
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Nicholas Creel on February 16, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is possibly the best religion and comparative politics book out there. It ties into Inglehart's "Modernization, Cultural Change and Democracy" book very well. Read both back to back if you can. (Read this second if you do)
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37 of 66 people found the following review helpful By Dolamite on October 23, 2004
Format: Paperback
The single strongest argument to be found in this book -- shown through extensive data anayis, rich evidence, and clear thinking -- is that societies where people have enough to eat, housing, healthcare, good education, and jobs are societies marked by LOW religiosity: few go to church and few believe in God or that the Bible is divine. Conversely, societies whyere life is precarious, marked by poverty, corruption, sickness, low education and unemployment, are societies marked by high degrees of religiosity. Makes perfect sense. And this book spells it all out, with lots of reliable data.

The funny things as that all the social scientists of Europe from the 1800s who predicted the detah of religion WERE RIGHT -- for their own societies. Their predictions obviously didn't hold for the rest of the world, but heck, no prediction is perfect. Religion in most of Europe is dying -- as was predicted. See the work of Steve Bruce for even more solid contemporary evidence. or Grace Davie.

Greeley, Stark, and Finke are simply wrong. This book proves much of their theories wrong. Shame on Greeley for calling secularization theory "dogma" without data. Shame on Stark for mocking sound sociological evidence.

Rife with clear data and clear theoretical articulation, this is a solid look at religion the world over. Religious faith is indeed flourishing throughout much of the world, but that is only because poverty is also flourishing throughout much of the world. And why is religion so strong in the US? Hm...let;'s see...could it maybe be that we have the highest percentage of people below poverty of any advanced industrial democracy, and we have the greatest gap between rich and poor, and no national health coverage? Well heck, at least Bush is big on prayer....
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