The Secular, Secularizations, Secularisms

Author: José Casanova

July 1, 2011

The secular, secularization, and secularism are three related analytical terms that have come to be used somewhat undiscriminatingly to refer to the broad processes of the privatization of modern religion. Casanova seeks to differentiate the three—and further nuance each—"without any attempt to reify them as separate realities." Drawing on his work in Public Religions in the Modern World, Casanova posits that the privatization of religion through the free exercise clause is a precondition of modern "secular" democracy, but "the secular is by no means profane in our secular age," and has in fact expanded to encompass much of the intellectual territory once claimed by axial religions. This book chapter was published in Rethinking Secularism (edited by Craig Calhoun, Mark Juergensmeyer, and Jonathan VanAntwerpen).

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