Secularisation In Sociology

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The idea of secularisation is a very controversial subject in sociology. In this essay I will research the different definitions of secularisation and the definition I have come to understand of secularisation. I will concentrate on secularisation in the Irish society and how people’s different meanings and understandings of religion influence the impact of secularisation. I will also analyse secularisation at a macro, mezzo and micro level. I will also take into account the consequences of secularisation in all three social, political and cultural manners. I will illustrate an example that supports secularisation and an example where secularisation is not so clear and evident. Secularisation can be defined in numerous ways. The most basic…show more content…
To define social and individual levels of secularisation, we look at secularisation as being ‘the process by which sectors of society and culture are removed from the dominations of religious institutions and symbols’ (Berger, 1990; 107) or as being a process ‘’by which religious institutions, actions and consciousness, lose their social significance’’ (B.Wilson, 1989, 149) Or the process by which society sectors and cultures are removed from the dimensions of religious institutions and symbols increasing the separation of the profane and the sacred. (Berger,1994,8). However it can be defined it six other ways according to sociologist Larry Shiner. The first being the decline in the importance of religion and more importantly, the decline in the once highly respected religious symbols, doctrines and institutions and their influence to a agree where people under the age of 40 feel that they have no significant connection with the church. This interpretation is the one that I feel is most suitable and true in today’s society. The second refers to dependence on ‘this world’ and attention being deferred away from the supernatural and magic. Thirdly we associate secularisation with the disengagement of religion and society,…show more content…
Religion is a key factor that affects Irish life, It has shaped the contemporary society that we live in today. It’s clear that in generations before us religious institutions had undisputed unlimited power in all aspects of Irish life but it is hard to analyse the extent of the power of the church in todays society. Ireland is the only country in the English speaking world that has a catholic majority (92%). However the people of Ireland are struggling in their relationship with Catholicism. It is said that Catholicism in Ireland is subconsciously forced onto children. This is mostly done through education. When a child is born one of the first catholic milestones that he/she participates (unknowingly) in is their baptism. Then as he/she attends primary school it is expected for them to take part and receive Holy Communion and confirmation. Then, as the child progresses into secondary school the influence of religion becomes less and less. Confession maybe offered once/twice a month. At this confession the student is given a choice as to whether or not he/she wants to participate. In todays society we see a change in this as a minority parents now are starting to wait until the child is old enough to decide whether or not he/she wants to be Catholic. These parents can request to the school that their child does not have to participate in religious activities.
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