Post‐materialist religion: Pagan identities and value change in modern Europe

C1 Book


Internal Authors/Editors


Publication Details

List of Authors: Mika Lassander
Place: London
Publication year: 2014
Publisher: Bloomsbury academic
ISBN: 9781472509925


Abstract

Based on original survey and interview data, Mika Lassander argues that two fundamental factors in the backdrop of individuals’ lives feed into the processes of change that are taking place in individuals’ worldviews in contemporary European societies. Firstly, traditional religions that have evolved to offer legitimation for social values that aim to enhance a feeling of community and existential security perform poorly in societies where the general feeling of existential security is already high and freedom of self-expression is the norm. Secondly, world spanning networks of instantaneous communication and increased freedom of the movement of people generate dense networks of ties and associations between individuals. The free flow of information, ideas, labels, and identities has become natural and geographical proximity is no longer automatically the primary method for in-group classification.
However, this re-alignment of individuals’ values and modes of interaction does not entail a switch from religiousness to a secular worldview. Rather, it entails a change of motives and thereby motivates the founding of new frameworks to legitimise the new values. In Europe, the large national religious institutions struggle to change their course, and spin-off sects have started to emerge at a growing rate. These spin-offs along with an increasing number of new religious and spiritual movements, as well as secular humanism, new Atheism, and ideological movements, such as the environmental movement, are taking up the role of providers of legitimation and support for one’s values.
Based on original survey and interview data, Mika Lassander argues that two fundamental factors in the backdrop of individuals’ lives feed into the processes of change that are taking place in individuals’ worldviews in contemporary European societies. Firstly, traditional religions that have evolved to offer legitimation for social values that aim to enhance a feeling of community and existential security perform poorly in societies where the general feeling of existential security is already high and freedom of self-expression is the norm. Secondly, world spanning networks of instantaneous communication and increased freedom of the movement of people generate dense networks of ties and associations between individuals. The free flow of information, ideas, labels, and identities has become natural and geographical proximity is no longer automatically the primary method for in-group classification.
However, this re-alignment of individuals’ values and modes of interaction does not entail a switch from religiousness to a secular worldview. Rather, it entails a change of motives and thereby motivates the founding of new frameworks to legitimise the new values. In Europe, the large national religious institutions struggle to change their course, and spin-off sects have started to emerge at a growing rate. These spin-offs along with an increasing number of new religious and spiritual movements, as well as secular humanism, new Atheism, and ideological movements, such as the environmental movement, are taking up the role of providers of legitimation and support for one’s values.


Keywords

actor-network theory, methodology in the study of religions, mixed-methods, modes of interaction, Paganism, post-materialist value change, pragmatism, quantitative methods, religion in Europe, religious change, secularisation, social-psychology, values, vernacular religion, worldview studies

Last updated on 2019-22-09 at 03:22