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Sociology   >   Religion and Modernity

Clarifications and Terminology

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Religion and Modernity

In this course, Professor Grace Davie (University of Exeter) considers the relationship between religion and modernity. In the first lecture, we clarify the meaning of the term “modernity”. In the second lecture, we look at the trajectories of religion in Europe, noting that modernisation entailed secularisation. In the third lecture, we look at the trajectories of religion in the US, where religion and modernity have been mutually reinforcing. Next, we explore changes to modernity in the late-twentieth century, how they influenced religion, and whether the terms “late modernity” and “post modernity” are useful in characterising them. In the fifth lecture, we interrogate whether there is a universal narrative of religion and modernity through Shmuel Eisenstadt’s notion of “multiple modernities". In the sixth and final lecture, we conclude with Professor Davie’s thoughts on this question.

Clarifications and Terminology

In this lecture, we clarify the meaning of the term “modernity”, focusing in particular on: (i) the distinction between “modernity” as a set of structural transformations in politics, economy and society, and “modernism” as a cultural phenomenon; (ii) the relationship between socio-economic structure and culture, as this is understood by Karl Marx and Max Weber; (iii) the issue of timing in thinking about modernity, in which we consider several options for demarcating the beginning of modernity, and opt for the transformations associated with the Enlightenment and the Industrial Revolution in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Davie, G. (2021, October 06). Religion and Modernity - Clarifications and Terminology [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Davie, G. "Religion and Modernity – Clarifications and Terminology." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 06 Oct 2021,

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Prof.  Grace Davie

Prof. Grace Davie

Exeter University