Dichotomy of Believing and Belonging – An Irish Context

Kerry Gallagher

Abstract


Religion, in both the sense of the institution and religious practices, is embedded in society - The social forms of religious life are fully integrated into the structures of society. Secularization is a source of great debate, and is a prominent feature in the sociology of religion literature. Religion, in both the sense of the institution and religious practices, is embedded in society - the social forms of religious life are fully integrated into the structures of society. Secularization is a source of great debate, and is a prominent feature in the sociology of religion literature. The need to examine the extent to which Catholicism in Ireland has been affected by the secular movement that has swept through Western Europe is essential to understanding religion in contemporary society, and the everyday meanings people attach to religious objects/institution/terminology at the local level. Through a close micro study of a small Donegal community I examine patterns of religious belief and practice and how these have undergone change in response to wider socio-cultural transformations associated with such things as urbanization and globalization. I therefore, establish the community’s level of religiosity - from spirituality to practice. From this, a test of the applicability of Davies (1994) ‘believing without belonging’ theory to the local Irish case is conducted.


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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5296/jsr.v1i1.208

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