From Hegemony to Pluralism: Managing Religious Diversity in Modernity and Post-Modernity

Gary D Bouma


The societal norms regulating religious diversity in western societies have gone through several phases since 1648, most of which have seen religious diversity as a problem to be overcome rather than a resource to be used and valued. The issue of managing religious diversity arises at personal, organisational, societal and increasingly at global levels. Using an institutions perspective, this paper examines the social history of the management of religious diversity at the level of western national societies. Following centuries of repression of religious diversity and the organisation of religious diversity through state church monopolies, and then oligopolistic cartels of denominations which while different each promoted dominant values, the emergence of multicultural and religiously plural societies in the late 20th century mark the emergence of a major change in their institutions of religious diversity.

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