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Seeing Invisible Religion: Religion As A Societal Conversation About Transcendent Meaning

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Chapter Summary

An important platform for the author's conceptual discussion is Thomas Luckmann's 1967 book, "The Invisible Religion". Luckmann's theory of religious transformation highlights the important role of noninstitutional religion in late modernity. This chapter argues that Luckmann's analysis of the religious transformation he outlines is limited by his assumption that noninstitutional religion is equivalent to private religion. It also argues that the transformation Luckmann theorizes isn't best described as privatization. Within his book, there are the seeds sprouts, even of a theory that can grasp the noninstitutional-but-public kind of religion whose social significance this chapter is trying to understand. The hidden sprouts in Luckmann are illuminated or, to continue the metaphor, brought to fruition by contemporary work in theory and culture that highlights the social power of communication. Finally, the chapter draws on original research to point out the analytical and theoretical usefulness of recognizing this communicative dimension of religion.

Keywords: "The Invisible Religion".; societal conversation; theory of religious transformation; Thomas Luckmann; transcendent meaning



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