Skip to content
Open global navigation

Cambridge University Press

AcademicLocation selectorSearch toggleMain navigation toggle
Register Sign in Wishlist
Sacred and Secular

Sacred and Secular
Religion and Politics Worldwide


Part of Cambridge Studies in Social Theory, Religion and Politics

  • Date Published: September 2004
  • availability: Replaced by 9781107011281
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9780521839846


Replaced by 9781107011281
Unavailable Add to wishlist

Other available formats:
Paperback, eBook

Looking for an examination copy?

If you are interested in the title for your course we can consider offering an examination copy. To register your interest please contact providing details of the course you are teaching.

Product filter button
About the Authors
  • August Comte, Herbert Spencer, Emile Durkheim, Max Weber, Karl Marx and Sigmund Freud predicted that religion would gradually fade in importance and cease to be significant with the emergence of industrial society. Their belief that religion was dying became conventional wisdom in the social sciences during most of the twentieth century. However, this analysis reveals that the traditional secularization thesis needs updating now. Religion has not disappeared and is unlikely to do so, even though secularization has had a surprisingly powerful negative impact on human fertility rates.

    • Articulates and develops a controversial new theory seeking to explain patterns of secularization and religiosity that is certain to arouse debate among social scientists
    • New evidence about the causes and consequences of secularization from the World Values Survey, conducted in almost 80 societies, along with other sources of data
    • The study examines the implications of secularization for politics, especially for electoral behavior and for social capital
    Read more

    Reviews & endorsements

    "This book is an impressive, well-documented, systematic examination of empirical evidence from many countries and cultures. It does not claim to resolve the secularization debate, but moves it to a new, more informed, and enlightening level..."
    R.L. Herrick, emeritus, Westmar University

    "This is a landmark book that deserves to be read widely and closely. It is rigorously grounded, carefully researched, and cogently argued ... A rare coup de grace in the form of a sharp and elegant empirical thrust to the heart of a protracted debate... Overall, this is a landmark book that deserves to be read widely and closely. It is rigorously grounded, carefully researched, and cogently argued... While not a holy text, it merits the kind of exegesis that many such texts receive."
    N. J. Demerath, American Journal of Sociology

    "Sacred and Secular is a very well-structured book, enriched by valuable survey data. It engages in important debates on development and secularization with its methodological elegancy and theoretical parsimony. It is a significant source to understand the classical social scientific approach to religion and a necessary basis to locate conflicting arguments on the field."
    Ahmet T. Kuru, University of Washington, Comparative Political Studies

    "Norris & Inglehart's book is a pleasure to read and an inspiration for scholars for its effort to generate solid knowledge on a much-debated question. Along the way, the reader will find much fascinating material..."
    Sven Gunnar Simonsen, Journal of Peace Research

    Sacred and Secular is a fine reference book for statistics on trends in religious observance throughout the world." Journal of Church and State Wendy Dackson

    "The book is a major contribution to the life of the idea of secularization and the larger issues about the nature and meaning of modernity bound up with that idea. It merits close study."
    Daniel Silver, University of Chicago

    "The book’s evidence and arguments—which are likely attracting the attention of a broad reading public beyond academia—certainly merit more critical discussion and focused evaluation by religion scholars, as they bear importantly on many larger concerns in the scientific study of religion and have many potential important policy implications."
    Christian Smith, Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion

    See more reviews

    Customer reviews

    Not yet reviewed

    Be the first to review

    Review was not posted due to profanity


    , create a review

    (If you're not , sign out)

    Please enter the right captcha value
    Please enter a star rating.
    Your review must be a minimum of 12 words.

    How do you rate this item?


    Product details

    • Date Published: September 2004
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9780521839846
    • length: 348 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 24 mm
    • weight: 0.68kg
    • contains: 33 b/w illus. 43 tables
    • availability: Replaced by 9781107011281
  • Table of Contents

    Part I. Understanding Secularization:
    1. The secularization debate
    2. Measuring secularization
    3. Comparing secularization worldwide
    Part II. Case Studies of Religion and Politics:
    4. The puzzle of religiosity in the United States and Western Europe
    5. A religious revival in post-communist Europe?
    6. Religion and politics in the Muslim world
    Part III. The Consequences of Secularization:
    7. Religion, the Protestant ethic, and moral values
    8. Religious organizations and social capital
    9. Religious parties and electoral behaviour
    Part IV. Conclusions:
    10. Consequences.

  • Authors

    Pippa Norris, Harvard University, Massachusetts
    Pippa Norris is the McGuire Lecturer in Comparative Politics at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. Her work analyzes comparative elections and public opinion, gender politics, and political communications. Companion volumes by this author, also published by Cambridge University Press, include A Virtuous Circle (2000), Digital Divide (2001), Democratic Phoenix (2002), Rising Tide (2003, with Ronald Inglehart) and Electoral Engineering (2004).

    Ronald Inglehart, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
    Ronald Inglehart is professor of political science and program director at the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan. His research deals with changing belief systems and their impact on social and political change. He helped found the Euro-Barometer surveys and directs the World Values Surveys. Related books include Modernization and Postmodernization: Cultural, Economic and Political Change in 43 Societies (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1997), Rising Tide (2003, with Pippa Norris) and Development, Cultural Change and Democracy (2004, with Christian Welzel).

Sign In

Please sign in to access your account


Not already registered? Create an account now. ×

Sorry, this resource is locked

Please register or sign in to request access. If you are having problems accessing these resources please email

Register Sign in
Please note that an additional password is required to open the solutions file once you have downloaded it. Contact for this password.

» Proceed

You are now leaving the Cambridge University Press website, your eBook purchase and download will be completed by our partner Please see the permission section of the catalogue page for details of the print & copy limits on our eBooks.

Continue ×

Continue ×

Find content that relates to you

© Cambridge University Press 2014

Back to top

Are you sure you want to delete your account?

This cannot be undone.

Cancel Delete

Thank you for your feedback which will help us improve our service.

If you requested a response, we will make sure to get back to you shortly.

Please fill in the required fields in your feedback submission.