Ongoing heated controversies over the postsecular hold important implications for the enlightened city.
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Despite little agreement over the meaning of the term, at a most general level postsecularity might refer to the persistence, reformulation or resurgence of religion in the public sphere. Charles Taylor’s (2007) A Secular Age is widely considered one of the most important critiques of secularism. In this magnus opus Taylor pays attention to the cultural conditions of secularity, where unbelief in religion is thought to be a viable option among several others and where religious and secular ideas co-exist on equal terms. Most commentators attribute the surge of popularity in the concept of the postsecular to The Dialectics of Secularization (Habermas and Ratzinger 2007) and in particular Habermas’s ideas on the alleged rise of post-secular society (Habermas 2008). When taken alongside José Casanova’s earlier Public Religions in the Modern World with reference to the deprivatization of religion (Casanova 1994), we have the three main intellectual cornerstones of what has become the conceptually interrelated narratives of postsecularity. Relations between religious, secular and humanist forces, previously viewed in isolation, are now placed together at the forefront of analysis of empirical developments on the ground, political advances for social transformation and theoretical explanations of macrosocial developments at large.
Casanova, J. (1994) Public Religions in the Modern World, Chicago, IL: The University of Chicago Press.
Habermas, J. (2008) ‘Secularism’s crisis of faith: notes on post-secular Society’, New Perspectives Quarterly, 25: 17-29.
Habermas, J. and J. Ratzinger (2007) The Dialectics of Secularization: on reason and religion, San Franscisco, CA: Ignatius Press.
Taylor, C. (2007) A Secular Age, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.