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The Uses Of Religion In Public Institutions: The Case Of Prisons

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Chapter Summary

This chapter arises from deep scepticism about the notions of postsecularity and postsecularism. It shows that there are good reasons for doubting the usefulness of these notions. The central point of chapter is that, from a sociological point of view, developments in religion can be better understood by examining continuity and change in the institutional settings in which religion is defined, practised and regulated. Evidence in support of this argument is come from studies of religion in the prisons of Britain and France. The chapter explores that it makes no sense to interpret religion in the prisons of these two countries as evidence of postsecularity. It suggests two major criticisms of Jürgen Habermas's depiction of European secularity and postsecularity. The changes that have occurred in France are less striking than in Britain but in some practical respects they bring the French and British positions closer together.

Keywords: Britain; European secularity; France; Jürgen Habermas; postsecularity; prisons; religion



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