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Postsecularism refers to a range of theories regarding the persistence or resurgence of religious beliefs or practices in the present. The "post-" may refer to after the end of secularism or after the beginning of secularism.


The term “postsecular” has been used in sociology, political theory,[1][2] religious studies, art studies,[3] literary studies,[4][5] education[6] and other fields. Jürgen Habermas is widely credited for popularizing the term,[7][8] to refer to current times in which the idea of modernity is perceived as failing and, at times, morally unsuccessful, so that, rather than a stratification or separation, a new peaceful dialogue and tolerant coexistence between the spheres of faith and reason[9] must be sought in order to learn mutually.[10] In this sense, Habermas insists that both religious people and secularist people should not exclude each other, but to learn from one another and coexist tolerantly.[11][12] Massimo Rosati says that in a post secular society, religious and secular perspectives are on even ground, meaning that the two theoretically share equal importance. Modern societies that have considered themselves fully secular until recently have to change their value systems accordingly as to properly accommodate this co-existence.[13]

Charles Taylor’s A Secular Age is also frequently invoked as describing the postsecular,[14] though there is sometimes disagreement over what each author meant with the term. Particularly contested is the question of whether “postsecular” refers to a new sociological phenomenon or to a new awareness of an existing phenomenon—that is, whether society was secular and now is becoming post-secular or whether society was never and is not now becoming secular even though many people had thought it was or thought it was going to be.[15][16] Some suggest that the term is so conflicted as to be of little use.[17] Others suggest that the flexibility of the term is one of its strengths.[18]

In literary studies, the term has been used to indicate a sort of postmodern religious or spiritual sensibility in certain contemporary texts.[19]

Related concept of desecularization[edit]

The term "desecularization" appears in the title of Peter L. Berger's seminal work The Desecularization of the World: Resurgent Religion and World Politics.

Berger explains that the assumption that the modern world is secular has been “falsified."[20] Specifically, Berger maintained that "the assumption we live in a secularized world is false.... The world today is as furiously religious as it ever was."[21]

Various scholars maintain that the percentage of the irreligious in the world appears to be in decline.

See also[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Abeysekara, Ananda. The Politics of Postsecular Religion: Mourning Secular Futures (Columbia University Press, 2008).
  • Ratti, Manav. The Postsecular Imagination: Postcolonialism, Religion, and Literature (London and New York: Routledge, 2013).
  • During, Simon. "Toward the Postsecular". PMLA: Publications of the Modern Language Association of America: 120.3 (2005 May), pp. 876–77.
  • Agar, Jolyon. Post-Secularism, Realism and Utopia: Transcendence and Immanence from Hegel to Bloch (London and New York: Routledge, 2014).
  • McClure, John A.. Partial Faiths: Postsecular Fiction in the Age of Pynchon and Morrison. Athens, GA: U of Georgia P, 2007. xi, 209 pp.
  • Bracke, Sarah. "Conjugating the Modern- Religious, Conceptualizing Female Religious Agency: Contours of a 'Post-secular' Conjuncture". Theory, culture & society. 25 (2008), p. 51-68.
  • Braidotti, Rosi. "In Spite of the Times: The Postsecular Turn in Feminism" Theory, culture & society. 25 (2008), p. 1-24.
  • Jean-Marc Ferry La Raison et la foi, Pocket, Paris, 2016.
  • Habermas, Jürgen. "Secularism's Crisis of Faith: Notes on Post-Secular Society". New perspectives quarterly. vol. 25 (2008) p. 17-29.
  • Josephson, Jason Ānanda. The Invention of Religion in Japan (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2012) (has a chapter on the "Shinto Secular" which is a discussion of postsecularism).
  • Jusova, Iveta. "European Immigration and Continental Feminism: Theories of Rosi Braidotti." Feminist Theory 12:1 (Spring 2011).
  • Koehrsen, Jens. "How religious is the public sphere? – A critical stance on the debate about public religion and post-secularity." Acta Sociologica. 55 (2012), p. 273-288.
  • Morozov, Aleksandr. "Has the Postsecular Age Begun?". Religion, state & society. 36 (2008) p. 39-44.
  • Roberts, Michael Symmons. "Poetry In A Post-Secular Age". Poetry review. vol. 98 (London, 2008), p. 69-75
  • Vries, Hent de; Sullivan, Lawrence E.; Ward, Ian. "Political Theologies: Public Religions in a Post-Secular World". Journal of church and state 17.50 (2008) p. 150-151
  • Ferrara, Alessandro. "The separation of religion and politics in a post-secular society". Philosophy & social criticism. 35. (2009), p. 77-92.
  • John R. Betz. After Enlightenment: The post-secular vision of J.G. Hamann (Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell Pub, 2009).
  • Parmaksız, Umut. "Making Sense of the Postsecular". European Journal of Social Theory. December 15, 2016. DOI: 10.1177/1368431016682743


  1. ^ Kyrlezhev, Aleksandr. “The Postsecular Age: Religion and Culture Today.” Trans. Joera Mulders and Philip Walters. Religion, State and Society 36.1 (2008): 21-31. Print.
  2. ^ McLennan, Gregor. “The Postsecular Turn.” Theory, Culture & Society 27.4 (2010): 3-20. Print.
  3. ^ King, Mike. “Art and the Postsecular.” Journal of Visual Art Practice 4.1 (2005): 3-17. Print.
  4. ^ Kaufmann, Michael. “Locating the Postsecular.” Religion & Literature 41.3 (2009): 67-73. Print.
  5. ^ Mohamed, Feisal G. Milton and the Post-Secular Present: Ethics, Politics, Terrorism. Stanford, CA: Stanford UP, 2011. Print.
  6. ^ Lewin, David (2016). Educational Philosophy for a Post-secular Age. London: Routledge. ISBN 9781138923669.
  7. ^ Habermas, Jürgen (September 2008). "Notes on Post-Secular Society". New Perspectives Quarterly. 25 (4): 17–29. doi:10.1111/j.1540-5842.2008.01017.x.
  8. ^ Reder, Michael and Josef Schmidt. “Habermas and Religion.” An Awareness of What Is Missing: Faith and Reason in a Post-Secular Age. Jürgen Habermas, et al. Trans. Ciaran Cronin. Cambridge, UK: Polity, 2010. 1-14. Print.
  9. ^ The title of a very recent book of Jean-Marc-Ferry is La Raison et la foi
  10. ^ Buston, Fernando del. 2014. [«El Estado debe proteger a la religión»]. El Comercio. Date access: January 10, 2015: "Jürgen Habermas ha acuñado el término de postsecularidad. Se da por fallida la idea central de la modernidad de que la religión iba a desaparecer y se establece una nueva relación entre razón y religión. Habermas plantea que es necesario emprender un aprendizaje mutuo entre las sociedades modernas y las creencias, o entre razón secular y fe. Se inicia una nueva época de mutuas tolerancias. La razón no puede echar por la borda el potencial de sentido de las religiones y éstas deben traducir sus contenidos racionalmente."
  11. ^ A “post-secular” society – what does that mean? Archived 2009-03-29 at the Wayback Machine by Jurgen Habermas June 2008.
  12. ^ Javier Espinosa. The religion in the public sphere. Habermas, Toland and Spinoza. Universidad de Castilla-La Mancha
  13. ^ Rosati, Massimo (2015). The Making of a Postsecular Society: A Durkheimian Approach to Memory, Pluralism and Religion in Turkey (Classical and Contemporary Social Theory). Ashgate Publishing Company. p. 83. ISBN 978-1472423122.
  14. ^ Smith, James K. A. “Secular Liturgies and the Prospects for a ‘Post-Secular’ Sociology of Religion.” The Post-Secular in Question: Religion in Contemporary Society. Ed. Philip S. Gorski, et al. New York, NY: New York UP 2012. 159-184. Print.
  15. ^ Jacobsen, Rhonda Hustedt, and Douglas G. Jacobsen. “Postsecular America: A New Context for Higher Education.” The American University in a Postsecular Age. Ed. Rhonda Hustedt Jacobsen and Douglas G. Jacobsen. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2008. 3-16. Print.
  16. ^ Hadden, Jeffrey K. “Toward Desacralizing Secularization Theory.” Social Forces 65.3 (1987): 587-611. Print.
  17. ^ Beckford, James A. “Public Religions and the Postsecular: Critical Reflections.” Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion. 51.1 (2012): 1-19. Print.
  18. ^ Dunn, Allen. “The Precarious Integrity of the Postsecular.” Boundary 2: An International Journal of Literature and Culture 37.3 (2010): 91-99. Print.
  19. ^ McClure, John A.. Partial Faiths: Postsecular Fiction in the Age of Pynchon and Morrison. Athens, GA: U of Georgia P, 2007.
  20. ^ Berger, Peter (1999). The Desecularization of the World. Washington, D. C.: The Ethics and Public Policy Centre. p. 4.
  21. ^ The Desecularization of the World: Resurgent Religion and World Politics by Peter L. Berger, Editor, David Martin, Contribution by, Grace Davie, Contribution by Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, (143p) ISBN 978-0-8028-4691-4

External links[edit]