Modernity and the Disenchantment of Life
Modernization theorists, following Max Weber, have generally assumed that the “disenchantment of life” was an essential component of the process of rationalization which gave rise to the modern era. Traditional cosmologies in which God(s) and hosts of lesser spiritual beings play active roles in the natural environment and human affairs gradually give way to an impersonal and mechanistic cosmology and its sociological counterpart, the functionally rationalized bureaucratic social order. The persistence of traditional religions and their periodic resurgence are understood as examples of incomplete modernization or alternatively as revivalistic responses to rapid cultural change. Or, so goes the theory.