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New Social Foundations for Education

Education in 'Post Secular' Society

Edited By Philip Wexler and Yotam Hotam

There has been growing scholarly attention to questions about the revival of religion and religiosity on global social, cultural and political fronts and the emergence of a ‘post-secular’ society. New Social Foundations for Education is dedicated to the drawing of the implications of the contemporary ‘post-secular’ social transformation for education. Though the question of the ‘post-secular’ stands at the focal point of a wide range of academic debates and discussions, within educational discourse it has not received close scholarly attention. This volume aims to correct this lack by presenting groundbreaking works of leading scholars from Europe, the United States, and the Middle East. Contributions discuss such topics as the mystical tradition and its social and pedagogic implications; transformative and ecological education; ‘new age’ spiritualism and its educational implications; and the relations between secular and religious education in different local contexts.
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1. Notes on Post-Secular Society

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1. Notes on Post-Secular Society

JÜRGEN HABERMAS

The controversial term “post-secular society” can only be applied to the affluent societies of Europe or countries such as Canada, Australia and New Zealand where people’s religious ties have steadily or rather quite dramatically lapsed in the post-World War II period.

These regions have witnessed a spreading awareness that their citizens are living in a secularized society. In terms of sociological indicators, however, the religious behavior and convictions of the local populations have by no means changed to such an extent as to justify labeling these societies “post-secular” even though trends in these societies towards de-institutionalized and new spiritual forms of religiosity have not offset the tangible losses by the major religious communities.

Reconsidering the Sociological Debate on Secularization

Nevertheless, global changes and the visible conflicts that flare up in connection with religious issues give us reason to doubt whether the relevance of religion has waned. An ever smaller number of sociologists now support the hypothesis, and it went unopposed for a long time, that there is close linkage between the modernization of society and the secularization of the population. The hypothesis rests on three initially plausible considerations.

First, progress in science and technology promotes an anthropocentric understanding of the “disenchanted” world because the totality of empirical states and events can be causally explained; and a scientifically enlightened mind cannot be easily reconciled with theocentric...

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