In reflecting on the Notes from the Field contributions surrounding the topic of secularization, Jonathan Sheehan, in his recent post “Something more mundane,” reiterates his hope for the creation of “something else ‘after secularization’”:
I’d like to put my hopes in something more mundane. . . . Namely, that we—all of us together here in this research group, but also in that wider community of interested scholars and thinkers—might create something new, a language and practice of analysis that moves orthogonally to these older conflicts. An immanent critique, as it were, that begins in the stuff of things: historical, anthropological, political, and so on. One that does not begin with a vision of how things should be for them to ultimately come out right, whatever that means. One that does not seek to “prove” the secularization thesis, however understood, or disprove it. But rather, one that is generative of new possibilities for understanding both religion and our own modernity.
In line with this, Sheehan suggests that a concept of secularization must not be taken as a “foundational first principal,” but rather that the uses of such an idea—if it does in deed prove to be useful—will manifest only as a result of dedicated research.