Sacred Values in Secular Politics

Steven Lukes

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    What role does sacredness play in the secular politics of the liberal democracies of the United States and Europe today? One approach, focusing on the sources of political unity, suggests that they are integrated by a kind of civil religion, however flawed. This suggestion is criticized empirically as ever less plausible and as blind to the currently feasible limits of social solidarity. A second approach, focusing on the growing democratic crisis of liberal democracies due to ever-deepening social divisions, leads to the suggestion that sacredness is increasingly at work in secular politics. As attachment to organized religion declines so does the public deliberation and negotiation of conflicting interests-the arguing and the bargaining that democracy requires.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)101-117
    Number of pages17
    JournalAnalyse und Kritik
    Issue number1
    StatePublished - May 24 2017


    • Civil religion
    • arguing and bargaining
    • deliberation
    • democracy
    • sacred
    • secular

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Sociology and Political Science
    • Philosophy


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