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Title: Leaping from non-secular to post-secular. A study of the Maltese scenario
Other Titles: Europe as a postsecular society : reflections on religion and societal cohesion
Authors: Gellel, Adrian-Mario
Sultana, Mark
Keywords: Postsecularism -- Malta
Secularism -- Malta
Catholic Church -- Malta
Issue Date: 2008
Publisher: Lit Verlag
Citation: Gellel, A. & Sultana, M. (2008). Leaping from non-secular to post-secular. A study of the Maltese scenario. In H. G. Ziebertz & U. Riegle (Eds.), Europe as a postsecular society : reflections on religion and societal cohesion (pp. 111-126). Berlin: Lit Verlag.
Abstract: It is possible to assume that the particular history, politics and social milieu of Malta is making it possible to experience a shift from the non-secular type of community to a post-secular one with relatively very few signs of secularism. This seemingly strange phenomenon is particularly due to (i) a very strong Catholic Church, (ii) political and economic factors, and (iii) the ever-increasing interactions with western society. The paper analyses historical, political and sociological documents in order to investigate the Maltese experience of the non-secular and its persistence. It is argued that while, through the 1970’s and 1980’s, there was a systematic political endeavour to secularise society, the macro-economic situation and politico-religious conflict served to favour the strengthening of a communitarian experience and to counteract the process of secularisation. Ironically, it was the new economic policies of the conservative party –seen as being close to the Church – which served to bring about the introduction of individualism and a movement towards secularization. Recent sociological studies point to a shift in the way Maltese relate to, experience and conceptualise religion. It is argued that, while contemporary Maltese society is very much influenced by global trends, it is also very much up to the local Catholic Church whether Malta will move towards a secular or post-secular scenario. This paper will hopefully throw more light on the dynamics that play in the construction of meaning, and relationships between religion and society, and between the individual and the state.
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