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CRCPD Lecture: Multiple Secularities

When:Tu 26-03-2013 16:30 - 18:00
Where:Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies: Oude Boteringestraat 38, room 130
Centre for Religion and Conflict in the Public Domain

Centre for Religion and Conflict in the Public Domain

Prof. dr. Monika Wohlrab-Sahr (Leipzig Universiteit) on 'Multiple Secularities'

The lecture presents the conceptual framework of ‘multiple secularities’ with a view to refocusing sociological research on religion and secularity. Arguing for a reconceptualization of secular-religious distinctions within the framework of cultural sociology, ‘secularity’ is conceptualized in terms of the cultural meanings underlying the differentiation between religion and non-religious spheres or practices. Secularity is ‘about something’, which is defended or contested in certain situations.

Building on Max Weber, four basic ideal-types of secularity are distinguished that are related to specific reference problems and associated with specific guiding ideas. The use of the concept, which is meant to guide empirical and theoretical work, is illustrated with regard to selected case-studies.

Monika Wohlrab-Sahr is Professor for Cultural Sociology at the University of Leipzig. Before that she has been Professor for Sociology of Religion at the same university. She has been visiting scholar at UC Berkeley, Fernand Braudel Fellow at the European University Institute in Florence, and - recently - fellow at the Jawaharlal Nehru Institute of Advanced Study in New Delhi.

Her research interests focus on conversion to Islam, Islam in Europe, secularization and non-religion, and on multiple forms of secularity in different world regions. She is also an expert in the field of qualitative methodology, and has gained the René-Koenig-Award of the German Sociological Association for the best text book for her book on “qualitative social research”.