chapter  1
34 Pages

Religious Change in the West: Watch the Women

WithPenny Long Marler

This chapter provides evidence for the spread of spirituality during the last few decades by studying spiritual beliefs and self-designations among the general populations of western countries. It examines Dick Houtman and Mascini's theory that the spread of spirituality is caused by a process of detraditionalization. This refinement is called for, because in its original form it cannot explain the high levels of affinity with spirituality among women. With men and women being identical when it comes to levels of post-traditionalism, the question why women nevertheless display more affinity with spirituality than men remains 'an intriguing and theoretically important puzzle to be solved'. Solving this 'gender puzzle' requires gendering the theory of detraditionalization. The chapter develops and tests a gendered version of the theory of detraditionalization. Whereas traditional male gender roles virtually coincide with the role of the breadwinner, traditional female gender roles, organized around the provision of care for others, are defined precisely in contrast to this work role.