China challenges secularization theoryChina challenges secularization theory
Faculty of Social Sciences. Sociology
Department of Sociology
Social compass. - Louvain
56(2009):3, p. 362-370
University of Antwerp
The author proposes a reflection on challenges that the three anthropological articles in this issue present for secularization theory. The first two discuss "performances" of religion in two different Chinese cultural periods: welfare services offered by recognized religious associations in the Peoples Republic of China and the judicial rituals in colonial settings. The author suggests similarities with such "performances" in western culture. The second part of the article discusses some issues raised by Szonyi in his comparison of recent social research literature on Chinese religion and sociological literature on secularization: a critique of the concept of "modernity" in relation to secularization; a reflection on the possibility of establishing a secularization theory with universal validity; how to integrate rational choice theory and secularization theory; the validity of secularization in view of individual religious sensitivity; and secularization as an ideology and a discussion of the so-called "privatization of religion" in secularized settings.