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Plenary Session: Postsecularity or Multiple Secularities?

At the XX ISA World Congress of Sociology (25 June - 1 July 2023, Melbourne) our Senior Research Fellows Armando Salvatore and Aninidita Chakrabarti, together with our director Monika Wohlrab-Sahr, discussed the question "Postsecularity or Multiple Secularities?" in a Plenary Session. A video of the three presentations has recently been published on the isasociotube channel, you can watch it here:

Session Abstract

In the wake of the erosion of the explanatory capacity of secularization theory, the sociological notion of secularity has overlaid the political and constitutional idea of secularism. It has also dovetailed with the more anthropological (and philosophical) idea of ‘the secular.’ In analogy with secularity and as a way of extending critical studies of it, the idea of postsecularity is generally associated with a plurality of views and practices resulting not from the negation of secularity but rather from the rise of a comprehensive reflexivity on the various shades of secularity (and the ‘secularization process’ of old). As a result, the untenable essentialized idea of compact ‘religions’ is dissolved into recurrently returning waves of self-differentiation of ‘religious’ forms of action and organization. Postsecularity allows to appreciate such protean manifestations of religion through ever new organizational guises and ways of mobilization, in a variety of social settings and within different cultural traditions. In a more recent turn, the idea of postsecularity has been integrated (or critiqued) through a focus on ‘multiple secularities,’ a notion coined in the wake of the success of ‘multiple modernities.’ The appearance of multiple secularities in a variety of societies all over the world creates a tension with the idea of postsecularity while it contributes to expose the malleability of the nexus between religion and secularity. It has also the advantage of encouraging comparative investigations and more focused methodologies than postsecularity allows. Panelists will discuss the pros and cons of such shifts from time-honored paradigms of secularization and their impact on broader sociological themes like social justice and critique of authoritarianism.

Reinventing Secularity As Civility? Islamic Articulations Linking Past and Present
Armando Salvatore

Post-Secularity, Multiple Secularities and Post-Coloniality: Investigating the Indian Conundrum
Anindita Chakrabarti

Post-Secularity or Multiple Secularities – What Is behind New Interpretations of the Religious Situation?
Monika Wohlrab-Sahr