ABSTRACT

The most straightforwardly sociological ‘secularization thesis’ was that of Bryan Wilson; its basic model is followed by those who believe in a ‘secularization paradigm’. Wilson took from Emile Durkheim the theme of social control and from Max Weber the theme of rationality. If the sociologists in the 1960s were less ambivalent about the future of religion it was because it seemed to many of them that social differentiation had been deepened and consolidated. In the 1960s the sociology of industry and labor was a major strand of the professional sociology of advanced industrial societies; the key dimension of social division to which sociology repeatedly returned was that of class. More plausible was the idea of ‘societalization,’ the transfer of responsibility for secondary and tertiary socialization from community to state and to moral demand systems that were local only in functional terms, being those of specific social sectors.