‘Nones’ in selected countries – a comparison

Workshop with “Hans Blumenberg Visiting Professor” Linda Woodhead

© wikipedia, Vilallonga

The workshop at the University of Münster’s Cluster of Excellence “Religion and Politics” addresses the growth of the so-called “nones”, people who are unaffiliated with any religion, in selected European countries and the U.S. The renowned British sociologist of religion, Hans Blumenberg Visting Professor, Prof. Dr. Linda Woodhead explores together with international researchers the socio-structural profile of the “nones” and their religious attitudes. The Blumenberg-Workshop will take place in Münster on 4 and 5 May.

The workshop deals with the following questions: Who are the ‚nones‘? What is their social-structural profile? What can we say about their religious attitudes? To what extent have withdrawals from church and to what extent have omissions of baptism contributed to the rise of ‘nones’?

The talks will concentrate on the influence religious socialization in families exerts on church ties. They also focus on motives for leaving the church. One further point of the workshop pertains the question to what extent we can attribute religious attitudes to non-affiliated people. Are they as religious as church members, but in a different, more individualistic, alternative and syncretistic way? Are they looking for quasi-religious substitutes? Do they still have high expectations towards the church?

By raising these analytical questions the workshop, titled “‘Nones’ in selected countries in Western and Eastern Europe and the U.S. – a Comparison”, will contribute to a better understanding of processes of secularization and re-sacralization in Western and Eastern European countries as well as the U.S. by identifying causal mechanisms which foster these ongoing processes.

Hans Blumenberg Visiting Professorship 2017

The workshop is part of the “Hans Blumenberg Visting Professorship” at the University of Münster’s Cluster of Excellence “Religion and Politics”. In the summer semester 2017 the Professorship is assumed by sociologist of religion Prof. Dr. Linda Woodhead from Lancaster University. The British academic will focus on the worldwide growing number of so-called “nones”. In the summer semester the Cluster of Excellence has for the first time appointed two Hans Blumenberg Visiting Professors. Ethnologist Prof. Dr. Thomas Hauschild from the University of Halle-Wittenberg will follow Prof. Woodhead in June and July. (exc/dak/vvm)

Blumenberg Visiting Professor Linda Woodhead

Linda Woodhead, born in Somerset, England, in 1964, is Professor of Sociology of Religion at Lancaster University. In 2013 the academic was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) for services to higher education. She has been awarded honorary degrees by the universities of Uppsala, Zurich and Oslo. Recently, the scholar was invited to the World Economic Forum summit in Davos as member of the Global Agenda Council on the Role of Faith. She has published several works on religion in modern societies, among them a book that aroused international interest: “The Spiritual Revolution” (co-written with Paul Heelas, 2005) is based on research in Kendal, a town in England, documenting the growth of Christian and alternative spirituality. Further publications include “A Sociology of Religious Emotion” (co-authored with Ole Riis, 2010) and “That Was The Church That Was: How the Church of England Lost the English People” (2016). Prof. Woodhead studied Theology and Religious Studies at Cambridge University and specialised in the empirical study of culture, religion and values.

“Owing to her long experience in interdisciplinary research on religion and society, Linda Woodhead is a great enrichment for the Cluster of Excellence”, Prof. Pollack emphasises. From 2007 until 2012 the new Blumenberg Visiting Professor was Director of the 15 million euros interdisciplinary “Religion and Society research programme” funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council and the “Economic and Social Research Council”. (vvm)

Workshop “‘Nones’ in selected countries in Western and Eastern Europe and the U.S. – a Comparison”

4 - 5 May 2017
Hörsaalgebäude des Exzellenzclusters „Religion und Politik“
Room JO 101
Johannisstraße 4
48143 Münster

Registration until 28.04.2017: Angelika Reerink, angelika.reerink@uni-muenster.de


Thursday, 04.05.2017

Detlef Pollack, Muenster

How none are nones, how some are somes, and who comes from where
David Voas, London

‘Nones’ in Ireland, North and South: Have ethnoreligious violence and institutional abuse contributed to the rise of ‘no religion’?
Gladys Ganiel, Belfast

15:30 Coffee break

‘Nones‘ in the Netherlands – the empirical basis of an ambiguous concept
Joep de Hart, Leiden

Organized and not organized secularity in Switzerland. First results from a mixed methods study
Jörg Stolz, Lausanne

19:00 Dinner
Friday, 05.05.2017

Who are the ‘nones’? Their social-structural coinages, religious attitudes and cultural influences: A comparison between East and West Germany
Detlef Pollack, Muenster

‘Nones’ on the rise in the U.S.
Gregory A. Smith, Pew Research Center, Washington D.C.

10:30 Coffee break

Nonreligion in a nonreligious environment: Estonian perspective
Olga Schihalejev and Atko Remmel, Tartu

Religious ‘nones’ in a secularizing society. The case of Hungary
Gergely Rosta, Muenster/Budapest

Conclusion, new insights, prospects for further research
Linda Woodhead, Lancaster