Secularization: A Luhmannian Reflection

Journal Article

Examines how Niklas Luhmann's social theory, particularly in its analysis of functional differentiation, helps to conceptualize certain significant dimensions of variation among societies & proves the utility of secularization as a theoretical tool. Luhmann's emphasis on differentiation & binary codes, it is argued, lends conceptual clarity & empirical direction to the study of societal secularization, defined as the "range of classificatory decisions religious professionals are called to make." It is put forth that the Luhmannian emphasis on social structures, built on ways of productively screening & selecting communications, rightly shifts attention from variations in religious belief to those in religious authority. Religion is regarded as challenging the boundaries of a functionally differentiated society & resisting its place in that society. It is shown how Luhmann's social theory can be used to distinguish & study the individual & organizational aspects of secularization, & builds a solid basis for future research. 16 References. Adapted from the source document.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Chaves, M

Published Date

  • 1997

Published In

  • Soziale Systeme

Volume / Issue

  • 3 / 2

Start / End Page

  • 439 - 449