Politics and religion in Western Europe
DOI link for Politics and religion in Western Europe
Politics and religion in Western Europe book
One of the classic themes of sociology focuses on the role of religion as a kind of social glue or cement which binds the constituent elements of societies together and so underwrites the social order. Conservative thinkers of the nineteenth century in particular pointed to religion as an (or occasionally the) essential foundation of any society or civilization and the founding fathers of the modern social sciences, with the conspicuous exception of Marx, placed the study of the social impact of religion close to the centre of their concerns. Despite its pedigree, the relevance of this view to modern society is, however, far from obvious and the political history of the countries of Western Europe in the modern period suggests rather that the impact of the religious factor has generally been as much to undermine as to underwrite the stability of the social and political order.