Recognizing the Non-religious: Reimagining the Secular

Hardcover | August 30, 2015

byLois Lee

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In recent years, the extent to which contemporary societies are secular has come under scrutiny. At the same time, many countries, especially in Europe, have increasingly large nonaffiliate, "subjectively secular" populations, whilst nonreligious cultural movements like the New Atheism and theSunday Assembly have come to prominence. Making sense of secularity, irreligion, and the relationship between them has therefore emerged as a crucial task for those seeking to understand contemporary societies and the nature of modern life. Drawing on ethnographic fieldwork in southeast England, Recognizing the Non-religious develops a new vocabulary, theory and methodology for thinking about the secular. It distinguishes between separate and incommensurable aspects of so-called secularity as insubstantial - involving merely theabsence of religion - and substantial - involving beliefs, ritual practice, and identities that are alternative to religious ones. Recognizing the cultural forms that present themselves as non-religious therefore opens up new, more egalitarian and more theoretically coherent ways of thinking aboutpeople who are "not religious". It is also argued that recognizing the nonreligious allows us to reimagine the secular itself in new and productive ways. This book is part of a fast-growing area of research that builds upon and contributes to theoretical debates concerning secularization, "desecularization", religious change, postsecularity and postcolonial approaches to religion and secularism. As well as presenting new research, this book gathersinsights from the wider studies of nonreligion, atheism, and secularism in order to consolidate a theoretical framework, conceptual foundation and agenda for future research.

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In recent years, the extent to which contemporary societies are secular has come under scrutiny. At the same time, many countries, especially in Europe, have increasingly large nonaffiliate, "subjectively secular" populations, whilst nonreligious cultural movements like the New Atheism and theSunday Assembly have come to prominence. Ma...

Lois Lee is a Research Associate in the Religion and Political Theory Centre at University College London. She is a sociologist whose work focuses on the empirical study of nonreligion and atheism and, more widely, on the theory and study of culturally diverse and differentiated societies. Lois is founding director of the Nonreligion ...
Format:HardcoverDimensions:256 pages, 8.5 × 5.43 × 0.81 inPublished:August 30, 2015Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0198736843

ISBN - 13:9780198736844

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Table of Contents

Introduction1. Contradistinctions In Terms: Vocabulary for the Study of Secularity and Nonreligion2. The Insubstantial and the Substantial Secular: Theories of Secularity and Nonreligion3. The Unwaved Flag: Material and Banal Forms of Nonreligion4. Out of the Shadows: Nonreligious and Secularist Bodies in Relief5. Friends And 'Anti-Fennelists': Nonreligious Relationships and Solidarities6. Disaffiliation and Misaffiliation: Identifying Nonreligion in Public Life7. Beyond Unbelief: Nonreligion and Existential CultureConclusionAppendices