A Need for Religion: Insecurity and Religiosity in the Contemporary World


In A Need for Religion: Insecurity and Religiosity in the Contemporary World Francesco Molteni tries to answer one of the broadest questions for scholars of religion: why is religiosity declining in developed countries? He does so by inspecting all the different nuances of the insecurity theory, which links the feeling of security typical of modern societies with the diminished need for religion as source of reassurance, support and predictability. In this respect, he notes that much of the evidence is far less clear than expected and that secularization processes are at an advanced stage only in a rather small group of worldwide countries.

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Francesco Molteni, Ph.D. (2017), University of Milan, is Postdoctoral researcher and Adjunct Professor in Sociology and Methodology. He is mainly interested in patterns of religiosity across the world and has published many articles on the topic.
List of Figures, Tables and Maps

1 Introduction
 1 Why the Need to Study Insecurity and Religiosity?
 2 A Guide for This Book
 3 Methodology and Appendices

2 The Broad Frame of Secularization Theory
 1 The Sociological Roots of Secularization Theory
 2 Alternative Approaches
 3 The Post-secularism
 4 Modernity and Modernizations: How to Simplify the Complex
 5 One Secularization, More Secularizations
 6 Different Levels of Interpretation
 7 Which Secularization?

3 Insecurity Theory in Sociological Literature
 1 The Sociological Roots of Insecurity Theory
 2 Insecurity Theory as a Macro-theory to Explain Religious Decline
 3 Insecurity Theory as a Micro-theory to Explain Religious Change
  3.1 Religiosity as a Social Buffer
  3.2 Religiosity as an Economic Buffer
  3.3 Religiosity as a Psychological or Cognitive Buffer
 4 Religious Coping and Religious Resources

4 A Look at the World: The Empirical Bases of Insecurity Theory
 1 Towards a More Robust Exploration
 2 Steps in Modernization

5 Exploring Relations: Does Insecurity Matter?
 1 Are Religious People Happier?
 2 Does Religiosity Mitigate Losses in Life-satisfaction?
 3 Are Insecure People More Likely to Be Religious?
 4 Disentangling the Mechanisms: One Insecurity, More Insecurities

6 Bringing Back Individuals: Do Negative Events Foster Religiosity?
 1 A Longitudinal Panel Study for Germany and the United Kingdom
 2 Testing the Mechanisms of Individual Change
 3 The (Non) Effect of Life-threatening Events

7 Moving into the Longitudinal: Changes in Insecurity and Secularization
 1 Towards a Model for Explaining Religious Change
 2 Conceptualizing Insecurity and Its Effect on Religiosity
 3 Longitudinal Argumentations and Cross-sectional Data
 4 Insecurity Theory: More Static Than Dynamic

8 Insecurity and Religious Change: Facts, Facets and Notes of Caution
 1 Europe as Exception or Example?
 2 Religious Evolution in Asia, Africa and South America
  2.1 Asia
  2.2 Africa
  2.3 South America
 3 Same Path, Different Positions

9 Conclusions: The Triggering Role of Insecurity
 1 Insecurity and Religious Decline: What Do We Know and What Should We Know?
 2 From Observation to Understanding
 3 Final Remarks

Appendix 1: Studying Religion with Quantitative Methods: A Toolbox
 1 Globalization of Surveys
 2 Individual and Aggregate Relations – Reasoning Multilevel
 3 Causality and Associations
 4 Cross-sectional and Longitudinal Relations
 5 Multidimensionality
Appendix 2: Data, Methods and Tables
 1 The Surveys
 2 The Techniques
 3 The Tables

Author Index
Thematic Index
All interested in the present (and future) of religion worldwide, and anyone concerned with the mechanisms that boost or suppress the need for religious reassurance.