In the latest issue of the European Journal of Sociology, José Casanova reviews two recent works by eminent British sociologists: Religion and Modern Society by Bryan Turner and The Future of Christianity by David Martin. He finds much to praise in both works and gives a generous account of their main arguments. Both books offer numerous insights into the relationship between globalization and secularization without amounting to something like a “general theory.”
Turner’s book, a collection of papers written for various occasions, fleshes out an account of secularization as the disappearance of the social. Casanova calls this account “radical” and takes issue with the deductive nature of Turner’s approach. Writes Casanova, “I must confess that [the thesis of the end of the social] does not help me understand better the complex global processes, religious as well as secular, which one might observe throughout the world.” Martin, in contrast, is comparative through and through and concedes that ultimately many questions pertaining to the consequences of globalization and secularization must remain open to further empirical inquiry.
Read the full review here (sub. req.).