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Social Capital, Social Identities by Hans Bernhard Schmid, Christoph Henning, Dieter Thomä

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Michaela Rehm

Cement of Society? Why Civil Religion isunfit to create Social Bonds

Civil religion, as Durkheim put it, is an “objective social fact”. According to this notion, any nation has a civil religion that can be examined by an observant social scientist. Empirical research might identify, say, Mercedes Benz, the Rhine, sausages and a rather robust way of playing football as elements of the German civil religion. Therefore, we might subsume several kinds of widely shared beliefs that provide a basis for social integration under the term “civil religion”. But what I want to examine in this paper is a stronger notion of civil religion, a notion that really takes the religious sphere into account. It does so by insisting that citizens need ...

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