The Post-Secular in Question

Religion in Contemporary Society

375 pages

March, 2012

ISBN: 9780814738726



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Philip S. Gorski is Professor of Sociology at Yale University and author of The Protestant Ethic Revisited.

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David Kyuman Kim is Associate Professor of Religious Studies and American Studies at Connecticut College, author of Melancholic Freedom: Agency and the Spirit of Politics, and editor-at-large of The Immanent Frame.

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John Torpey is Professor of Sociology at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York and author of Making Whole What Has Been Smashed: On Reparations Politics.

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Jonathan VanAntwerpen is director of the program on Religion and the Public Sphere at the Social Science Research Council, co-editor of The Power of Religion in the Public Sphere, and editor-in-chief of The Immanent Frame.

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The Post-Secular in Question considers whether there has in fact been a religious resurgence of global dimensions in recent decades. This collection of original essays by leading academics represents an interdisciplinary intervention in the continuing and ever-transforming discussion of the role of religion and secularism in today’s world. Foregrounding the most urgent and compelling questions raised by the place of religion in the social sciences, past and present, The Post-Secular in Question restores religion to a more central place in social scientific thinking about the world, helping to move scholarship “beyond unbelief.”

Contributors: Courtney Bender, Craig Calhoun, Michele Dillon, Philip S. Gorski, Richard Madsen, Kathleen Mahoney, Tomoko Masuzawa, Eduardo Mendieta, John Schmalzbauer, James K. A. Smith, John Torpey, Bryan S. Turner, Hent de Vries.


  • "The Post-Secular in Question sustains the recent scholarly attention given to the contested and rather murky notion of post-secularism, although it approaches the topic in a more interesting way than many other works."

    Religion Watch

  • "An important contribution to the vast literature on secularization and religion in contemporary society. Scholars interested in those important topics will find much value in the book."

    Sociology of Religion

  • "This book is an indispensible guide for those interested in developing a cross-cultural, historical appreciation of religion, a central concern for the founders of sociology...highly recommended for upper-division graduates and above."


  • "In the last two decades we have witnessed constant deconstructions and reconstructions of the categories of religion, the secular, and now the post-secular. This volume is the best entry I know to the whole debate. It serves both as a perfect illustration of the shifting terrain and as a helpful analytical guide to its exploration."

    —Jose Casanova, author of Public Religions in the Modern World

  • "The quality of almost all the chapters of this book is unusually high. One can learn things one didn't know and see them in a way one hadn't thought of by reading this diverse but very stimulating collection. The book does not solve the murky problem of the secular, much less the post-secular, but it gives new ways of thinking about them that have great promise as our work on these issues goes forward.”

    —Robert Bellah, author of Religion in Human Evolution: From the Paleolithic to the Axial Age