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Chapter Summary

This introduction presents an overview of the key themes discussed in the book. The book discusses the role of religion in private and public domains, instead of trying to establish whether or not religion is private or public. It seems obvious that both spheres are being separated more and more by politics and economics. Max Weber (1856-1920) already made clear that religion, economics and politics are connected, and that therefore religion has a strong public role. So, secular states advocating the privatization of religion disconnect religion from politics e.g. the public domain. The process of 'deprivatization' (Casanova) on the other hand stimulates a public or 'civil religion' (Bellah), and supports the relationship between religion and politics. There is a parallel in terms of tension between the dichotomy private/ public compared with the word pair individual/group. The same tension can be observed between spirituality versus institutional church, or between laymen and religious specialists.

Keywords: deprivatization; Max Weber; religion



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