The Portuguese Catholicism as a very specific social-cultural expression

The Portuguese Catholicism as a very specific social-cultural expression

The project The Portuguese Catholicism as a very specific a social-cultural expression attempts to understand one European culture and society through its singular religious history. The principal aim is to draw up a picture of the Portuguese society, highlighting its historical and contemporary religious particularities. This study is based on the fact that the European civilization has its origin mainly in the Greco-roman and Jewish-Christians traditions, even though the individual cultures have grown through very specific history and significant cultural contacts, meetings, fusions, interactions or transnational relations, forming a quite particular collective conscience which can not be modified nor transmitted. The project intends to understand the Portuguese Catholicism as a social-cultural expression, independently of its ecclesiastical institutions. In this sense, the main aim is to understand the specific form in which a traditionally catholic society reacts in view of some social transformations which have been happening over the last few decades, marked especially by the concepts of "secularization" and "globalization".

Estatuto: 
Proponent entity
Financed: 
No
Keywords: 

Catholicism; history / sociology of religion
religious plurality; religious geography

The project The Portuguese Catholicism as a very specific a social-cultural expression attempts to understand one European culture and society through its singular religious history. The principal aim is to draw up a picture of the Portuguese society, highlighting its historical and contemporary religious particularities. This study is based on the fact that the European civilization has its origin mainly in the Greco-roman and Jewish-Christians traditions, even though the individual cultures have grown through very specific history and significant cultural contacts, meetings, fusions, interactions or transnational relations, forming a quite particular collective conscience which can not be modified nor transmitted. The project intends to understand the Portuguese Catholicism as a social-cultural expression, independently of its ecclesiastical institutions. In this sense, the main aim is to understand the specific form in which a traditionally catholic society reacts in view of some social transformations which have been happening over the last few decades, marked especially by the concepts of "secularization" and "globalization".

Objectivos: 
This research project is based on the hypothesis that a social system can be considered as a historical construction, articulated, structured and reproduced through different social-cultural expressions. One of these social-cultural expressions is the religious world. Religion is in a closed relation with different social (sub-) systems; this means that religion does not represent just an important part of the social construction - it is also a producer of it. And even though we are living in a pluralistic time in which ecclesiastical institutions are no longer normative entities, religion continues to be an important part of modern society. Bearing in mind that the religious reality in modern societies suffered deep transformations in the last few decades, the aim of this project is to establish a solid theoretical base that will help to understand the dialectical relation between religion and social system in contemporary Portugal. In this sense, we could observe that the current transformations in the religious landscape reflect the changeable or dynamic character of a modern society, and vice versa.
State of the art: 
This project is linked with the scientific discipline of religious studies, and particularly with the sociology and history of Religion. For the classic sociology of religion (Max Weber, &Eacute;mile Durkheim and Georg Simmel), a society is a historical construct of certain cultural and religious (economic) circumstances which are linked closely to the behaviour of the life. These classical scholars of sociology underlined that the life of a society is directly or indirectly determined by the ethical doctrine of the religious complex. In regard with a visible decline of church attendance in the post-war era, these theoretical fundaments were resumed and updated in the 70s by the sociologist Thomas Luckmann in his major work <em>The Invisible Religion</em>, with the aim to understand the locus of the individual in modern society. The main effort was the reestablishment of the relationship between religion and the human being, emphasizing the extreme importance of religion as a socializing factor. Luckmann stresses that religion (which he identified as a <em>conditio humana</em>) is present in all socialized members of a society. Generally speaking, there are no doubts that religious institutions lost their traditional influence in modern societies, and some empirical researches (in the 80s and 90s) recorded the decline especially in church attendance and the rejection of religious participation of church members (for example Halman and de Moor 1993). The loss of church authority, and the rise of religious plurality, privatisation and individualization, has led to a kind of home-made religiosity which can be identified as an individual patchwork (about the well-known religious &lsquo;bricolage' see Hervieu-L&eacute;ger 1999). However, the situation has changed significantly in the 90s, caused by a certain &lsquo;deprivatisation' (or in other words, the &lsquo;return' of religion into the public sphere) of religion in contemporary world. This new condition forces to a reconsideration of the relationship between religion and modernity. This &lsquo;return' of religion into the public realm was treated by Jos&eacute; Casanova (1994) how draws our attention to the fact that religion still plays an increasingly important role in the construction of modern world. Another interesting attempt to understand the role of religion in the (European) modern world comes from the French sociologist Dani&egrave;le Hervieu-L&eacute;ger, who explains that there are two points to take into consideration in all analyses of the religious systems in one singular society: first (influenced strongly by Luckmann) the circumstances which make the individual a member of a community/society. And second: the tradition (as the collective memory) as an extremely important fundament of the community/society. Hervieu-L&eacute;ger (1993) argues that a lot of modern European societies are incapable of maintaining the collective memory regarding the religious past. On the other hand, these societies are incapable of finding satisfactory alternatives to their lost religious tradition. In this way, the religious factor still continues in modern societies as a kind of &lsquo;vicarious religion' which means &quot;the notion of religion performed by an active minority but on behalf of a much larger number, who (implicitly at least) not only understand but, quite clearly, approve of what the minority is doing&quot; (Davie, 2006).
Coordenador 
Start Date: 
02/12/2005
End Date: 
01/12/2008
Duração: 
36 meses
Closed