(A10) Framing the Religious within Important Current Sociological Narratives of Modernity

Hardly any other term serves as the central pivot of the formation of sociology as a science trying for a description of contemporary society the way the term “modernity” does. It can be observed here that this term is no longer used carelessly in the current socio-scientific discussion to describe and analyse contemporary society. The different narratives of modernity, which today refer not only to Europe but also to other regions of the world and which aim at defining the characteristics of contemporary society and at identifying possible trends, face new challenges such as wars, new forms of violence, growth problems, globalisation, the crisis of the national state, conflicts about cultural deviation as well as increasing social inequality. The forms of dealing with these challenges base themselves above all on a criticism of the term of modernity which is frequently associated with a reassessment of the religious. The understanding of the religious is closely implied with the classical term of modernity, according to which it is seen as a secularised area among several others, and it is thus being revised more and more explicitly. Therefore, it is not as clear how contemporary sociology conceives the relationship of religion and society as the classical model of modernisation theory suggests. Accordingly, the research project focuses on the knowledge sociological  question of how different sociological modernity narratives thematise the religious.


“Doing Modernity – Doing Religion”, 10 and 11 December 2010, Department of Sociology of WWU Münster

First publications

  • Hillebrandt, Frank 2010: Modernität – zur Kritik eines Schlüsselbegriffs soziologischer Zeitdiagnose, in: Berliner Journal für Soziologie 20, issue 2


Lecture held at the anniversary congress of the German Sociological Association on 13 October 2010, section “Religionssoziologie: Religion(en) als transnationale Akteure” (Religious sociology: religion(s) as transnational actors):

  • Hanns Wienold/Franka Schäfer/Anna Daniel (Münster): “Aus der Welt der Religionen zu den Weltreligionen. Zum Zusammenhang von Weltreligion und Modernität” (From the world of religions to the world religions. On the interrelation of world religion and modernity; German abstract)

Lectures held at the conference “Doing Modernity – Doing Religion”, organised by Project A10:

  • Frank Hillebrandt, Constance/Münster: “Soziologische Praxistheorie und Religionsbegriff” (Sociological practice theory and religion)
  • Hanns Wienold und Franka Schäfer, Münster: “Pierre Bourdieus Max-Weber-Rezeption” (Pierre Bourdieu’s reception of Max Weber)
  • Anna Daniel, Münster: “Religion als das Andere” (Religion as the other)

Courses (in German)

Winter semester 2009-2010:

  • Daniel/Schäfer/Wienold: “Modernity and religion in socio-scientific theory formation”

Summer semester 2010:

  • Wienold/Pollack: Reading course on Charles Taylor’s “A Secular Age”
  • Hillebrandt/Schäfer/Daniel: Research colloquium on the concepts of religion