Skip to ContentSkip to Navigation
About usFaculty of Theology and Religious StudiesCalendar

Religious Sociology in Postwar Europe, 1945-1970

When:Th 11-06-2015 09:30 - 18:15
Where:Court Room (Zittingszaal), Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies, Oude Boteringestraat 38, Groningen

Why did Catholic and Protestant churches shortly after World War II invest rather heavily in sociological research? What made them think that sociological inquiry could help stop declining membership rates? And how responded theologians to the new class of sociological experts?

These are the central questions for a one-day workshop to be held in the Court Room (Zittingszaal), Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies on Thursday June 11, 2015. Speakers include Thomas Mittmann (Bochum), Jeremy Morris (Cambridge), and Benjamin Ziemann (Sheffield). The full program can be found below.

More information

Herman Paul (special chair in secularization studies),


  • 9.30 coffee/tea
  • 10.00 welcome
  • 10.15 Of Religious ‘Crises’ and Sociological ‘Laboratories’: Towards an Anatomy of Secularisation Narratives in the French, Dutch, and West-German Catholic Church Provinces, 1940-1975 – Chris Dols (Nijmegen) – discussant: Kocku von Stuckrad (Groningen)
  • 11.15 The Practical Sociologist: Observations on the Role and Performance of Pastoral Sociologists in the West German Church, 1945-1980 – Benjamin Ziemann (Sheffield) – discussant: Peter van Dam (Amsterdam)
  • 12.15 lunch
  • 14.00 What Was the Lasting Impact of the ‘Sociological Moment’ on the Churches’ Discourse of ‘Secularization’? – Thomas Mittmann (Bochum) – discussant: Peter Raedts (Nijmegen)
  • 15.00 Enemy Within? The Appeal of the Discipline of Sociology to Religious Professionals in Postwar Britain – Jeremy Morris (Cambridge) – discussant: Arie Molendijk (Groningen)
  • 16.00 coffee/tea
  • 16.15 How Bad is Church Decline? A 1954 Controversy on Sociological Thinking in the Church – Herman Paul (Groningen) – discussant: Christoph Jedan (Groningen)
  • 17.15 Kiruv Rechokim: Bringing In Those Who Are Far: Jewish Sociology in Postwar Europe – Bart Wallet (Amsterdam) – discussant: Lodewijk Winkeler (Nijmegen)
  • 18.15 closing remarks