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1 The State, External Relations and Internal Organization

1 The State, External Relations and Internal Organization

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The State, External Relations and Internal Organization


Danish state changed into what has been called opinion-driven absolutism. The king

came to increasingly depend on the professional and administrative elites. He was

portrayed as a loving father, who listened to his subjects and then made the decision

that was supposed to be best for all. The state can at this point in history be understood as the king and the administrative elite. In 1849, the state changed again; the

monarchy was restricted and voting was introduced. The king, the government, and

the electorate were now the state. A consequence of the democratic constitution was

an initial wave of democratization, which is evident from the political debates of the

period. In 1866, the constitution was modified in the wake of the defeat of 1864.

This changed the electorate and thus the state. Large landowners were now afforded

much greater political weight. In 1901, parliamentarianism was introduced and the

king thereafter appointed only governments without an opposing a majority in the

Lower Chamber.

1901 saw a second tide of democratization begin to rise in Denmark. The electorate was gradually expanded, and women obtained suffrage in 1915. In 1953, the

Upper Chamber was abolished. At that point, the Danish state comprised the government and all Danish citizens over 18 years of age. The share that all citizens have

in the state explains the fact that individual Danes, like citizens in other democratic

countries, readily adopt a state perspective. The adoption of a state perspective can

be observed, for instance, in daily political discourse in which there is an abundant

use of the personal pronoun ‘we’. We have to do this or that in order to keep our

competitiveness vis-à-vis the Germans, the Chinese, etc. Such use of language

shows that people in the situation understand themselves to be part of this ‘we’

(Reeh 2009a). Norbert Elias’s notion of the survival unit further explains why people are emotionally attached to ‘their’ state (Elias 1978). Clearly, in addition to its

external relations, the state has a relationship with its own society, or the inhabitants

of the country, through its state-form. In the present study, the state-form is understood not only as the organization of the state but also as the history of the state, or

the state mythology (Assmann 1997; Reeh 2009a). The state-form is often expressed

in the official conceptualization of the state although it is almost always contested.

It is certainly not a given and has often changed through time.

This perspective on the state has numerous consequences. The state and its external relations become a primary focus. The struggle between states cannot be overlooked since the state tends to use whatever means at hand to protract its struggle for

existence. The state organizes itself in such a way that, at the least, sufficient defence

is obtained. Here, defence policies become a broad category. The internal organization of a state is itself a means of securing the state and its survival since the state

must organize itself to maintain its significance in regard to other states. In this light,

society is no longer an entity that can be studied independently of the state. On the

contrary, the organization of society is highly dependent on the state and its struggle

for survival. The invisible and visible conflict between states becomes an indispensable point of departure for the study of any society related to a state. This view is

adopted here. One of the measures to which the Danish state has from time to time

resorted is religion. Threatened from outside its borders, the state turns to its

resources within. The less people will or can comply with the measures proposed—




higher taxes, fixed grain prices, conscription—in short, the will of the state, the less

effectively the state can function. A state thus has to call on its subjects if it is to

retain its sovereignty and legitimacy, internally as well as externally. A state has,

one might say, a voice that speaks through legislation among other things. This call

plays a central role since the politics of school and religion can be regarded as such

a call upon the inhabitants of the state.

However, since it is concerned with the agency of the state in the particular area

of teaching of religion, individual subjects are not at the centre of the present analysis. Here I accordingly analyse one of the channels, namely, the elementary school

system, through which the state officially attempts to define the status and position

of its subjects in relation to itself. It must be stressed that the attempt of the state is

only an attempt and that it may have no or unintentional consequences. If, however,

self-organization and the call of the state are to work, the state must pay attention to

the culture, the religion, and the history of itself and its subjects; otherwise, the call

falls on deaf ears or can be opposed. According to the Danish confirmation ritual of

1736, each individual was defined and recognized as a member of the king’s church

militant whereas in 1975, each pupil in a school was recognized as a future citizen

free to choose his or her own confession. Throughout history, the state-form and the

state’s use of religion have been contested and have changed dramatically. The state

thus resembles a bricoleur that uses whatever is at hand. The things at hand are a

very broad category, ranging from the state-form itself, military weapons, and economic resources to ideas, concepts, and beliefs. Such ideas and beliefs may derive

from the subjects of the state, from history, or from elsewhere. In this way, the cultural and religious life of Danes has been used not only as a resource but also as a

reserve that the state has sought to husband. In the analysis, state policy on religion

in elementary schools is viewed from this perspective. Nevertheless, it should be

stressed that even though states struggle and compete against each other, they may

also attempt to copy, imitate, and learn from each other as well as achieve goals that

do not spring from the interstate relation as suggested in the section on mimicking,

imitation, and copying in social life in Chap. 2. In this study, the finding is that state

policies on religion in Danish schools have been crucially dependent and influenced

by the dynamic springing from the relation to other states.

In the case study, the analysis is viewed strictly from the perspective of the

Danish state. In the field of the academic study of religion, it has proven difficult to

reach a consensus concerning the definition of religion. However, religion and

Christianity have been a weighty problem for the Danish state to handle, regardless

of the academic problems in defining religion (Hervieu-Léger 2000). This study

does, however, have the potential to shed some light on what religion has meant for

the Danish state and why it has been important to ‘handle’ it. The study accordingly

provides an opportunity for analysis of the potential forces behind the construction

of the modern concept of religion, namely, the modern state.

In addition to the sociological secularization paradigm, certain stuthe vital interests of

the state. As in the case of differentiation, the content of the teaching of religion and

thus the state's construction of its Sacred Canopy can be seen as functions of the

vital interests of the state. With regard to this point, David Martin and Steve Bruce

are correct in stressing that cultural defence can slow the process of secularization

(Martin 1978; Bruce 2002, 2011; Halikiopoulou 2011). I do, however, think it is

more precise to say that historical religious changes are deeply conditioned by the

state and its external relations because this opens the possibility for a reversal of the

decline in significance of religion and not just a temporary slowdown of the process.

The reason for this is that society is not an endogenous entity that develops in a

vacuum according to its own immanent laws. Instead, the state and its society should

be seen as embedded in multiple complex relations with other states and their societies. Therefore, a given state and its society are deeply influenced by these other

states and societies. When the state has used religion, it has done so to serve its vital

interests. This has increased the significance of religion. In the eighteenth century,

the Sacred Canopy of the Danish state was erected with the use of a Pietistic version

of Christianity; today, the state can be said to have constructed a Sacred Canopy in

which democracy plays a key role in the underpinning of the Danish state. The present theoretical perspective, which has the state as the survival unit in a field of other

survival units, can thus provide a theoretical explanation of what David Martin,

Steve Bruce, and Daphne Halikoupoulou have analysed as cultural defence (Martin

1978; Bruce 2002, 2011; Halikiopoulou 2011). It should be stressed that the Sacred

Canopy is not determined as such by the state. Rather, the state has used the means

at hand in its struggle for survival, including the existing religion of its inhabitants,

which it has tried to influence and reconstruct in ways that served its interest. In this

process, the state stayed within the limits of what its inhabitants could accept,

whether in the eighteenth century or today.

In connection with the religions of individual inhabitants of the Danish state, it

should be stressed that the present book is not without its own limitations and blind

spots. One of the most important limitations is that the book does not deal with



religious discourse and practice of individuals such as in, for instance, Callum

Brown’s important work The Death of Christian Britain (Brown 2001). Here, the

argument is that secularization on the individual level in Britain has taken place

primarily since the 1960s. This secularization, or historical religious change, is on a

different level than the present book, namely, that of the individual. On one hand,

these two levels can be seen as interlinked. Although it must be remembered that the

majority, or 80.4 %, of Danes were members of the National Danish Church in

2001, it is not unlikely that Brown’s findings with regards to individual religiosity

could be replicated in Denmark (Lüchau 2012). Historical development in Denmark,

especially from World War II to the end of the Cold War, shows signs of a similar

process, particularly the fact that many Danes did not consider the teaching of religion in schools to be important towards the end of this period (Bugge 1994). On the

other hand, the state’s religious policies turned out to be highly dependent on George

W. Bush’s War on Terror and the immigration of Muslims. Therefore, one cannot

say that a change in the state’s religious policies is a direct consequence of the values and attitudes of individual Danes. Unfortunately, a choice had to be made

between including this level in the present analysis and taking a long historical

perspective so the question of how these two levels are interlinked remains. Brown’s

findings in Britain should be tested in Denmark in future studies. Brown’s arguments in regard to the case of Britain may also explain the religious zeal of

nineteenth-century Denmark. Throughout history, Danes have not been as religiously active as often assumed. One indicator of this is that King Christian VI saw

it necessary in 1735 to issue a law that made it mandatory to attend church. The

existence of this law indicates that Danes were not attending church as much as the

king saw fit. The question of changes in the religion of individual Danes throughout

history thus remains an intriguing question that will be left to further studies.

Returning to the present analysis, I hope it will contribute to a continued discussion of secularization or, perhaps better, historical religious change. Before I continue this endeavour, I will turn to the question as to why secularization theories

have been so ill prepared to address the re-emergence of religion on the political

agenda in the years that followed the end of the Cold War in 1989.


Berger, P. L. (1969). The sacred canopy: Elements of a sociological theory of religion. New York:


Brown, C. G. (2001). The death of Christian Britain: Understanding secularisation, 1800–2000.

London: Routledge.

Bruce, S. (2002). God is dead: Secularization in the west. Malden: Blackwell.

Bruce, S. (2011). Secularization. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Bugge, K. E. (1994). Vi har stadig rel’gion. Frederiksberg: Materialecentralen.

Casanova, J. (1994). Public religions in the modern world. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Casanova, J. (2007). Rethinking secularization: A global comparative perspective. In L. G. Beaman

& P. Beyer (Eds.), Religion, globalization and culture (International studies in religion and

society). Leiden: Brill.



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Collins, R., & Sanderson, S. K. (2009). Conflict sociology: A sociological classic updated.

Boulder: Paradigm Publishers.

Dobbelaere, K. (2002). Secularization: An analysis at three levels. Bruxelles: P.I.E.-Peter Lang.

Giddens, A. (1985). The nation-state and violence, volume 2 of a contemporary critique of historical materialism. London: Polity.

Gorski, P. S., & Altinordu, A. (2008). After secularization? Annual Review of Sociology, 34, 55–85.

Halikiopoulou, D. (2011). Patterns of secularization: church, state and nation in Greece and the

Republic of Ireland. Farnham/Burlington: Ashgate.

Højrup, T. (2002). Dannelsens dialektik: etnologiske udfordringer til det glemte folk. Copenhagen:

Museum Tusculanum Press.

Højrup, T. (2003). State, culture, and life-modes the foundations of life-mode analysis. Burlington:


Joas, H. (2003). War and modernity. Cambridge: Polity Press.

Lüchau, P. (2012). Seks teser om danskernes medlemsskab af folkekirken. In L. Christoffersen

et al. (Eds.), Fremtidens danske religionsmodel. Copenhagen: Anis.

Martin, D. (1978). A general theory of secularization. Oxford: Blackwell.

Reeh, N. (2006). Religion and the state of Denmark – state religious politics in the elementary

school system from 1721 to 1975, an alternative approach to secularization. Copenhagen:

University of Copenhagen.

Reeh, N. (2009). Towards a new approach to secularization: Religion, education and the state in

Denmark, 1721–1900. Social Compass, 56(2), 179–188.

Reeh, N. (2013). Danish state policy on the teaching of religion from 1900 to 2007. Social

Compass, 60(2), 236–250.

Tschannen, O. (1991). The secularization paradigm: A systematization. Journal for the Scientific

Study of Religion, 304, 395–415.

Part III


Chapter 12


In the 1960s and 1970s, secularization theory was an invincible paradigm, and perhaps even a reigning dogma, within the sociology of religion (Swatos and Christiano

1999). However, at least since the end of the Cold War, secularization theories have

come under increasing fire (Hadden 1987; Gill 2001). The secularization paradigm

is not as convincing as it once was, and religion seems to play a salient role in the

present day (Berger 1999). In this book, the classic secularization theories have

been revisited (confer Reeh 2006, 2009a, b, c, 2011, 2013a, b). A conceptual history, a new theory of religion and, finally, a case study are presented.

The case study was conducted in the area that has been under the complete control of the Danish state. This control has been more or less complete since the

Reformation in 1536, when Danish King Christian III broke with the Roman

Catholic Church and established a Lutheran state with a claim of control of the

religion of the his subjects. One can observe that the arm of the state grew gradually

longer; the study reveals that the Sacred Canopy was not just in existence but was

carefully managed and controlled by the authorities. This is not to say that the

Danish state could have constructed the Sacred Canopy in any way that it saw fit.

Instead, the Sacred Canopy should be viewed as having been assembled in a process

that the state, like a bricoleur, used in attempts at a given point in time to transform

(as necessary) the religion of its people with a keen eye to what served its own vital

interests. These vital interests have, of course, changed throughout the course of

history. However, whether it was obliging the peasantry to fight in the first half of

the eighteenth century, combating Nazism during the German occupation in 1940–

1945, or countering Islamic terrorism from 2001 onwards, they have been fundamental in the historical process. It is important to stress that the Danish government

has not only paid attention to its external affairs but that is has also had to take into

account the religion of its citizens. If the state failed to do this, it would have risked

losing control of its affairs. A clear example of the Danish government yielding to

this can be seen in the modification in 1740 of the School Law of 1739 after protests

from estate owners. Another example is the overall Danish state religious politics

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

N. Reeh, Secularization Revisited – Teaching of Religion and the State of

Denmark, Boundaries of Religious Freedom: Regulating Religion in Diverse

Societies 5, DOI 10.1007/978-3-319-39608-8_12





from 1934 onwards. In 1934, the government was led by Social Democrat Thorvald

Stauning. By that point, the Social Democrats had realized that a large part of their

constituency was Christians who were not going to toe the anti-religion line the

party had so far indulged. In order not to alienate this part of their constituency, the

party de-politicized religious policy, which led to the formulation of the School Law

of 1937 that simply stated that schooling should be in accordance with the precepts

of the Evangelical-Lutheran Church. Thereby, the Social Democrats and the government turned their religious policies around and awaited the eventual popular

acceptance of the individualization of religion. This occurred in 1975 when the

teaching of religion ceased to be confessional. In the framework of the present

study, the government’s perception of the position of the Danish people has been

included in the analysis.

As a response to the findings in the empirical analysis, this book attempts to

answer the question of how the classic theories of secularization could be so wrong,

or at least unprepared, for the years immediately before and especially after 2001.

One answer to this question is that the theories disregard what actuates states to take

an interest in the religion of their populace. Consequently, I briefly point here to the

main problems in the secularization paradigm and the fundamental sociological

conceptual apparatus as a whole, namely, that (1) society is regarded as an entity in

itself or a thing of itself and not as interrelated to other societies or states, so that the

state is consequently not regarded as an actor or agent with its own raison d’état;

and (2) the sociological secularization paradigm has no concepts for the interreligious dynamic between different religious groups (Tschannen 1991). I thus suggest

that secularization, or better, historical religious change, should be analysed as a

vastly more complicated historical process that takes place on both (i) the interstate

and (ii) the intra-state level.

(i) On the interstate level, the traditional secularization narrative has overlooked

the importance of the fact that the external situation of Denmark has changed

dramatically with regard to the importance of religion. In a very brief period,

Denmark went from being a vassal state on the fringe of Emperor Otto I’s Holy

Roman Empire to a Lutheran sovereign state and regional power in 1537, to a

sovereign, democratic but minor state after 1849, back to a vassal state in the

democratic American empire or grossraum (from 1945), to a management state

in a globalised and uncertain world from the end of the Cold War.

(ii) On the intra-state level, a result of the 1849 constitution was that a free civil

society was allowed to develop, including the free organization of religious

groups on the precondition that they respect the ethics of society and penal law.

Although the vast majority of Danes stayed within the Danish National Church

(even today, some 80 % of the Danish population are members), this liberalisation opened up the possibility of individual choice of religion, which entails

that religions as well as individuals react to the presence of a religious other. As

a brief example, the Danish National Church and Danes have reacted to the

presence of religious others, whether it was Mormon missionary activity in the

nineteenth century, the new religious movements that followed in the wake of




the 1960s, the recent presence of Muslims in Denmark, or the rise of new organized Atheism. In addition to the dialectic between religions (including such

counter-religions as Atheism and Humanism) and religious factions, the various

systems of belief have reacted to the transformation of the Danish life-world,

including its dominant knowledge regime.

When reading the extensive sociological literature on classical secularization,

societal processes such as differentiation, rationalization, privatization, and so on

are commonly represented as key factors underlying the process of secularization.

Most often, however, there is no state agency. In a recent study, Daphne Halikiopoulou

compared and tested the secularization thesis in Greece and the Republic of Ireland

(Halikiopoulou 2011). In this work, she drew on David Martin’s analysis and correctly claimed that secularization was not an inevitable development but ‘a specific

outcome, possible only under certain conditions’ (Halikiopoulou 2011, 190). More

specifically, she used Martin’s so-called cultural defence paradigm, which claims

that secularization is ‘unlikely to occur in cases where religion historically has

served as a carrier of nationalism’ (Martin 1978; Halikiopoulou 2011, 1). The notion

of cultural defence is also outlined by Steve Bruce, who seems to regard it as a factor that may retard the process of secularization but eventually will not be able to

inhibit it (Bruce 2002). This notion of cultural defence has many similarities with

the approach of this book but with the crucial difference that it excludes any notion

of state agency from the theoretical frame. This book can then be seen as precisely

that, namely, a theory that, among other things, can include and explain what David

Martin called cultural defence at the theoretical level.

A fundamental difference between the state-centred perspective taken in this

book and the greater part of sociology can be found in the preconditions of a society.

Durkheim explained the emergence of social order with the concept of solidarity,

implying that man has an immanent tendency to integrate himself with others. One

problem in this regard is that the emergence of solidarity is taken for granted and not

explained theoretically (Højrup 2002, 2003; Kaspersen 2002). In the present

approach, the state, or the survival unit, is seen as a precondition for the existence of

a society. Further, the state is forged in opposition to other states or survival units.

Durkheimian sociology, as well as the overwhelming bulk of sociology, can thus be

described as approaches that regard societies as the result of fusion, by which I

mean that they perceive societies as having a natural tendency to ‘hang together,’ as

Steve Bruce has paraphrased it (Bruce 2011, 27). In contrast, I suggest that society

has a fissionary tendency, but that successful states are able to manage and keep

society together despite intra-societal tensions and conflicts. Let us pose the rhetorical question: would the US, for instance, allow the Republican-dominated states to

secede from the union if they sought secession and, if not, why? One motivation for

declining any such proposal is that fragmentation would most likely diminish

American supremacy in the world. The fact is that societies are not simply there,

and they do not simply cohere by themselves. They are managed and kept together

because the state has its own interests in a world of other states.




A similar point can be put forward against Niklas Luhmann’s theoretical system

approach, in which systems have an immanent tendency towards efficient communication. As in the criticism of the Durkheimian approach above, the problem in the

Luhmannian approach is that it also takes the existence of the social system for

granted. His book Social Systems opens with the following statement:

The following considerations assume that there are systems. … Our thesis, namely, that

there are systems, can now be narrowed down to: there are self-referential systems. This

means first of all, in an entirely general sense: there are systems that have the ability to

establish relations with themselves and to differentiate these relations from relations with

their environment (Luhmann 1995, 12–13).

Assuming the existence of social systems, including their ability to establish relations, Luhmann went on to assume that communicative systems, including the

social system, seek to obtain the most efficient communication (Luhmann 1995).

Furthermore, Luhmann, and, for instance, Peter Beyer seem to take for granted

social systems’ drive towards the most efficient communication and the proposition

that this explains the fact that Western societies have seen an increase in functional

differentiation because it is the most efficient way of organizing a system. A consequence of Luhmann’s theory is that no systems control the others (Beyer 2006).

I disagree strongly with this last point. The vital interests of the state can overrule

other ‘systems’. The consequence of this is that if the state or the survival unit is

functioning well, the struggle for survival tends to influence, if not dictate, developments in other systems. This position is vindicated by the historical analysis of

Danish educational policy making with regard to the teaching of religion. Broadly

speaking, the defensive concerns of the Danish state played no small role behind the

scenes in the conditioning of the teaching of religion in Danish elementary schools

throughout the period analysed.

In contrast to such Durkheimian and Luhmannian approaches, I have found it

useful to adopt a perspective inspired by Norbert Elias’ state concept and Thomas

Højrup’s State and Life-Mode Theory (Elias 1978, 2008; Højrup 2003 ). In this

approach, the point of departure is not the existence of a social system or society but

rather the relations between social units at the most general level (i.e., the state system). In this perspective, states can be investigated as entities that struggle to survive in an environment of other states. If they do not attempt to keep abreast of other

states, the danger is that they will be subsumed into one of them, as has occurred

many times throughout history. States thus have to organize themselves with a view

to increasing their chances of survival and independence. In this perspective, states

are constituted by encounter with other state(s). In this work, this perspective is supported. The Danish state has, throughout the period studied, reacted to the presence

of significant external threats, mostly from other states. In the long eighteenth century it was Sweden, in the long 19th it was Prussia, the German Union, and the

Third Reich, and from 1945 to 1989 it was the USSR. Since 2001, it has been the

terrorist threat from fundamentalist Muslims and the new globalised world order.

These external pressures have played a key role as a driving force behind the organization of the Danish state, including its educational system. From a historical




perspective, the Danish state has at all times managed its survival (from its internal

cohesion to its external military survival). The consequence is that the state’s organization of its society, including processes of differentiation, should be regarded as

taking place in specific historical contexts, in which both external (as analysed in

this book) and internal developments weigh on the scale.

In the present analysis, the reason for a state’s interest in the religion of its people

can be found in an inquiry into the interests of that state. In the historical study, the

Danish state took such an interest in order to prevent internal disorder, avoid conflict

between different faith groups that might spill over into unrest, and strengthen its

position vis-à-vis other states. The classical secularization theories have been little

concerned with the agency of the state or the agency of religions although David

Martin, and especially Roger Finke and Rodney Stark, have touched upon this problem, albeit in a different way than the present approach (Martin 1978; Finke 1990;

Finke and Stark 1992). Finke and Stark attempted to regard religions as competing

enterprises in a market. In the US, where almost everything seems to be organized

as a commercial undertaking, this model makes sense. It is, however, more questionable in a country like Denmark. Here, the general model of religious collectives

seems to be organized differently, namely, as either a state Church or as associations, which may not necessarily operate in such a way as to maximize their market

share. The cultural difference in organizing religions should thus be taken into

account more fully in future studies. Although their model is too narrowly economistic, Finke and Stark deserve credit for putting the issue of interreligious relations

on the agenda.

The lacuna left in the sociology of religion by the omission of the agency of

states and religions can be traced to the general theoretical framework of sociology

or, more precisely, to its master concept, the society as developed by the classic

sociological fathers in the nineteenth century. Auguste Comte and Emile Durkheim

in particular made a complete break with the thinkers of the natural law tradition.

Comte’s idealism led him to believe in the possible establishment of a new society

that would be driven by the advantage of man and not by the military requirements

of the old regime. In the case of Durkheim, the theoretical break with the old was

made through a positivism that centred on le fait social (Durkheim 1938). It should,

however, be noted that the sociological world-view of both Comte and Durkheim

was similar to a republican model of the state, in which society controls the state

apparatus and the state does not have interests other than those derived from individuals in the society.

Unlike Comte and Durkheim, Herbert Spencer made a more consistent use of the

organic metaphor in that he also saw world history as combat between different

societies. Much as in the biological world, different organisms and species compete

with and prey upon each other. Spencer, however, slid from an is to an ought, from

an academic analysis to political legitimation of imperialism and conquest.

Consequently, he was pronounced dead by Talcott Parsons after World War II.

The German tradition of social thought did not attempt a break with the natural

law tradition. Tönnies thus regarded his sociological analysis as one that should be

complemented by other studies from neighbouring disciplines such as political




science. Max Weber began his studies of religion as an economist engaged in the

Methodenstreit with the Austrian school of economics. However, after completing

the economic argument in Die protestantische Ethik und der Geist des Kapitalismus

in 1904/1905, he used the work as a part, but only a part, of Gesammelte Aufsätze

zur Religionssoziologie…, which he explicitly regarded as universal history. In his

translation, Talcott Parsons put the foreword from Gesammelte Aufsätze… before

the text of Die protestantische Ethik… and gave it the title The Protestant Ethic and

the Spirit of Capitalism. Thereby, the original economic context of Die protestantische Ethik … was obliviated. It should, however, be stressed that in other studies,

Weber certainly paid some attention to the agency of religions (Weber 2005). As to

the state in Weber’s writings, it is a complex issue. His definition of the state monopoly of violence within a territory implies some other state or states in adjacent territories (Kaspersen 2002). Weber did not, however, pursue his theory of the state in

this direction, and his state remains an aggregate of individuals. However, as Lars

Bo Kaspersen has pointed out, the political writings of Weber show examples of the

state struggling, and displaying a will to power, within the state system (Weber

1978; Kaspersen 2002).

One reason why the dominant secularization theories turned out to be so ill prepared for the situation after September 11, 2001 can be found in the way that the

sociological fathers and the reception of their work broke with the tradition of natural law and established itself as a new empirical science. The new sciences of sociology and international relations were differentiated and paid little attention to each

other. Sociology concentrated on studying society as an endogenous entity while

international relations reserved its energies for the external relations of the state. It

should be stressed that exceptions are to be found (Giddens 1985; Skocpol 1985;

Mann 1986; Tilly 1990; Kaspersen 2002; Højrup 2003). However, at least within

the study of secularization, these studies have not been taken into account.

The introduction of state agency that has been proposed here has numerous consequences with respect to the study of what has been called secularization. First and

foremost, the study shows that secularization, understood as the social significance

of religion on the macro-level as it has been studied here, is not an irreversible process. Rather, the study shows that the Danish state agency has played a key role in

the process. From this, however, it cannot be ascertained that this is always the case.

In other states, the state has played a different role. As David Martin indicated in his

General Theory of Secularization, a critical factor is whether there is religious

monopoly, duopoly, or diversity (Martin 1978). The Danish state thus succeeded in

sustaining a religious monopoly until the first democratic constitution of 1849,

eventually expatriating disbelievers of the official creed (although, for instance,

some Jews and Huguenots were allowed in Copenhagen and the so-called free-town

Fredericia). In, for instance, Germany, the state did not succeed in establishing a

religious monopoly and had to cope with the religion of the people in a different

manner by leaving the teaching of religion to the dominant religions themselves. In

the US, the state is constitutionally barred from attempting to influence the religion

of citizens. In a different framework, under the heading of religious deregulation,

Roger Finke has dealt with the consequences of a change in state-form in his

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1 The State, External Relations and Internal Organization

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