Consumerism and the Democratization of Religion
This chapter offers a number of critical reflections on the analysis of religion in both contemporary sociology and social philosophy, with particular emphasis on how religious practice has been transformed by the twin processes of commercialization and democratization. To this end, it considers Émile Durkheim's notion of belief and suggests that secularization must be analyzed under two headings (the social and the political). It also explores the link between philosophy and post-secularism and how the triumph of popular, democratizing, global consumer culture is affecting the traditional, hierarchical, literate religions of the past. The chapter cites the work of Bryan Wilson and suggests that the debate around secularization and “post-secular society” is too narrowly focused on the West.
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