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Expressions, Mediations, and Exclusions in Post-secular Societies: Introduction

Journal article
Authors Klas Grinell
Urban Strandberg
Published in European Review
Volume 20
Issue 1
Pages 68-76
ISSN 1062-7987
Publication year 2012
Published at Department of Political Science
Pages 68-76
Language en
Subject categories Political Science


Modernist theories of development and democratization predicted that secularization would lead to the disappearance of religion. This has not happened. But contemporary democratic states are secular and define religion as a private matter. At the same time, a politics of recognizing religiosity is deeply rooted in the modern state, and it is obvious that intangible values play an important role and have a valid claim to public spaces. On the metaphorical agora, the square that constitutes the middle ground between the cathedral and the parliament, commitment born in the cathedral is transformed into rational arguments that can be presented in parliament. But who governs the square? Do spiritual values need a public defence? Can or should all religious commitments and expressions be transformed into profane arguments? How could public spaces be designed and maintained to promote peaceful mediations between profane, sacred and other principled commitments? By assembling artistic and academic thinkers who do not confine themselves to intellectual analysis, but demand our involvement and our realization that we are part of the processes we are considering, this Focus contributes to a discussion of religiosity and public spaces in post-secular societies.

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