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Patterns of Secularization and Religious Rationalization in Emile Durkheim and Max Weber

Issue: Vol 12 No. 2 (2009)

Journal: Implicit Religion

Subject Areas: Religious Studies

DOI: 10.1558/imre.v12i2.135


Emile Durkheim’s and Max Weber’s sociologies of religion contain three different patterns of secularization and religious rationalization: the unilinear, the dialectical, and the nonlinear (which includes the paradoxical). Based on an analysis of Durkheim’s and Weber’s writings on religion, this paper argues that the process of religious rationalization and secularization is not always linear but can also take place in a dialectical or paradoxical manner. Whereas in the unilinear and dialectical theories of religious rationalization and secularization there is a progressive development, in the nonlinear or paradoxical theory, development is arrested. While the unilinear and dialectical theories are associated with the Occidental development to modernity, the paradoxical nature of theoretical religious rationalization was characteristic of the “arrested” development of the Orient, while the paradoxical aspects of secularization are associated with unresolved contradictions of modernity (the postmodern).

Author: Warren S. Goldstein

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