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date: 23 August 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter discusses two academic strands with respect to scholarly attempts to identify the secular. Based on a review of criticism brought forward against the classical secularization thesis, it outlines, on one hand, what consequences have been drawn by descriptive and explanatory social scientists and how they apply notions such as secularity, secularism, and secularization today, and, on the other, examines the conceptual histories as well as distinct genealogical studies of “the secular” to explore the ways in which attempts to identify the secular may also imply an identification with or against the secular. Here, recent arguments concerning the importance of researching how worldview secularism and political secularism are both to be differentiated as well as historically intertwined are taken up. Finally, the chapter attempts to determine whether and how both academic strands can be brought together in research on the heterogeneity of religious–secular entanglements in the contemporary world.

Keywords: secular, secularity, secularism, nonreligion, worldview, political secularism, genealogy

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