Patterns of Secularization: Church, State and Nation in Greece and the Republic of Ireland
Tarta, Mihai Iustin, Journal of Church and State
Patterns of Secularization: Church, State and Nation In Greece and the Republic of Ireland. By Daphne Halikiopoulou. Surrey, UK: Ashgate Publishing Limited, 2011. 202pp. $99.95.
This book signals a new interest in the secularization debate in Europe and makes a challenging comparison between an Orthodox and a Catholic country, showing how two national monopoly churches cope with secularization as a distinctive feature of European modernity. The book relies on David Martin's cultural defense thesis that secularization is less likely to occur in countries where religion has served as a carrier of national identity. The author compares the Catholic Church of Ireland and the Greek Orthodox Church in the two decades before 2008. Halikiopoulou argues effectively that secularization happens when two major preconditions meet: (1) the church obstructs the state's modernization process and (2) the nation's external threat perceptions decline, making the initial association of church and nation meaningless. She makes her point by analyzing trends in religious supply (church/institutional level) and demand (popular level of religiosity), rather than just raw numbers, considering the different juxtaposition of the social, political, and religious spheres in the two countries and different measures in religious participation. For example, church attendance is far more relevant in Catholicism because the church depends on manpower to keep its social and political significance intact. The author delineates two patterns of secularization in the cultural defense category: confrontation, or obstruction of modernity, in the case of Ireland and co-optation in the case of Greece. The co-optation pattern in Greece runs counter to the typical argument that the association of church and state weakens the church's power (p. 65).
The book is divided into three parts. Chapter one provides a theoretical background that reviews the secularization argument of modernization theory and theories of nationalism, and that holds the book's tripartite analysis of church-state, church-nation, and official state and church discourse. Chapter two examines the church, state, and nation nexus from a historical perspective, contrasting the redefinition of Irish national identity with the persistence of Greek national identity. Both churches survived because they carried religious customs that distinguished them and their subjects from the empire, making anti-colonialism a major national feature. The evolution of the cultural defense in the two churches also shows significant differences based on their institutional differences. The second part of this chapter focuses on the …
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Publication information: Article title: Patterns of Secularization: Church, State and Nation in Greece and the Republic of Ireland. Contributors: Tarta, Mihai Iustin - Author. Journal title: Journal of Church and State. Volume: 54. Issue: 2 Publication date: Spring 2012. Page number: 293+. © 1999 J.M. Dawson Studies in Church and State. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All Rights Reserved.
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