The Privatization of Religion and Morality

5

The Privatization of Religion and Morality

Thomas Luckmann
The thematic outline for the Lancaster conference on detraditionalization
expresses remarkable theoretical ambitions. The fate of tradition in moder­
nity is a problem which does not admit simple solutions. For my part, I do
not know whether my own presentation will contribute much to the discus­
sion of the larger issues. My aim is more modest. I intend to restrict my
remarks to a limited, although perhaps not insignificant, part of the wider
problem, the nature of contemporary moral communication. I shall begin by
sketching its relevance for the general topic of the conference; I shall then
venture some guesses about traditional and modern components of that com­
munication; and finally, I will illustrate my point with some data on the
moral aspects of communicative interactions between ordinary people.
Although I do not plan to approach the big theoretical questions head-on,
I may be allowed to add that I share the interest in the larger issue. How
were social structure, culture and the individual transformed in the modern
world? It was interest in this question which many years ago led me to join
the search for an explanation of the profound changes in the manifestations
of religion in modern societies. I was helped in this search by the conceptual _
frame of a functionalist version of the social theory of religion. I had formu­
lated that theory after becoming disenchanted with the approaches and in­
vestigations which were then prevalent in the field. I thought that it was
necessary to return to the question asked about the nature of modern societies
by Durkheim and Weber, even if one did not accept all their answers.
Looking at the scattered evidence available at the time - significantly, little
of it was to be found in the mainstream of research in the sociology of
religion - I speculated about the causes which had led to the decline of
institutionally specialized religion, historically a particularly important social
form of religion which had been established in the Christian West and which
was represented by churches, sects and' denominations. It was marked by.

73

monopolies or oligopolies in the production, distribution and maintenance of
sutralized, transcendent universes. It had been the dominant social form of
religion in the Western world for many centuries.
Hut even thirty years ago it was obvious that its dominance and pervasive
social reach had come to an end. The widespread view that this meant the
end of religion seemed erroneous to me. Even in the heyday of secularization
theories, there were signs that a new, institutionally less visible social form
of religion was emerging, and that it was likely to become dominant at the
expense of the older form. Churches and sects would henceforth have to exist
in a radically transformed social structural and cultural context. The new,
busically de-institutionalized, privatized social form of religion seemed to be
relying primarily on an open market of diffuse, syncretistic packages of
meaning, typically connected to low levels of transcendence and produced in
u partly or fully commercialized cultic milieu. The new situation permitted,
even encouraged, individual bricolage. Relying for its essential legitimations
upon the modern myth of the autonomous individual, it had a pronounced
elective affinity for the sacralization of subjectivisms. The brooks, fed by
sources such as Rousseau’s Les Confessions and Goethe’s Die Leiden des Jungen
Werther flowed into the mass-cultural sea of subjectivity-cults.
A NEW SOCIAL FORM OF RELIGION: PRIVATIZATION, INDIVIDUAL
SYNCRETISM , AND MASS CULTURE

I-ooking somewhat more closely at this theme, the privatization of religion
is part of the general privatization of individual life in modern societies.1 The
social condition most directly connected with privatization is, of course, the
high degree of functional differentiation in the .social structure.2 The ‘b ig’
institutions exert considerable control over individual conduct by their func­
tionally rational norms and by the mixture of rewards and punishments
characteristic of the political economy of modern capitalistic nation-states.
Hut the institutional segmentation of the meaning of actions left large spheres
of life without institutionally predefined meaning-structures and without
obligatory models of biographical coherence.5 The life-space that is not di­
rectly touched by institutional control may be called ‘the private sphere’. As
individual consciousness - not individual conduct - is liberated from social
structural constraints, a process typically accompanied by legal provisions for
freedom of opinion, people gain a sense of individual autonomy. Totalitarian
reactions having been unsuccessful, the individual is given the freedom to
choose from a variety of sacred universes. These have sprung up as the cul­
tural correlate of structural privatization.

canonized dogmas. and the more recent depth-psychologies is obvious. These institutions address the problem of the verbalization of topics arising in the private sphere. not obligatory models characteristic of the older social forms of religion. and the like. techniques) referring to minimal. It lja« no stable organization. Collective representations originating in social con­ structions o f the intermediate transcendences of nation.among other Ihinga . This allows the formation o f commercially exploitable cultic milieu. sects. such as science. The products convey a more or less systematically arranged set of meanings (and. to great transcendences. and intellectualist phenomena at one time. Sometimes it revives elements of older religious traditions that were canonized and that it interprets in un­ orthodox (often far-fetched) ways. the traditional religious orientations (at whose centre are social constructions o f the great transendences) have not disappeared. . an elective affinity does seem to obtain between the latter and the sacralization of subjectivity that is celebrated in much of modern mass culture. the traditional Christian sacred universe was no longer the only transcendent reality medi­ ated in the social processes of specialized churches. symbols. However. magic. This may be a structural precondition for the successful maintenance of its vague holistic approach. Much of modern (Byronian or Baudelairean) The Privatization of Religion and Morality 75 consciousness is rooted in the cultivation of immediate sensations and emo­ tions . and the in­ stitutionally specialized basis of these orientations (the churches. of course. it cultivates the notion of networks. It collects abundant psychological. offerings on bioenergetics and meditation. occasionally. and sects did not even retain their monopoly on specifically religious themes without challenge from secular ideologies. i f not dominant. The shift of intersubjective reconstructions and social constructions away from the great other-worldly transcendences to the intermediate and. sexual) techniques. this does not mean that no form of mediation exists between th# market and potential consumers. Evidently. thera|>riitic. However. certain branches o f philosophic idealism. This social form o f religion is thus characterized by an immediate masscultural accessibility of the supply of representations referring to varied levels of transcendence. and the like. and dogmas. The set can be bought and kept for a short or longer period. and older esoteric materials. Inner-worldly analogies to traditional devotional literature range from treatises on positive thinking to Playboy articles on the expansion of consciousness by various (for example.have taken the challenge and turned it into a profitable business.4 The basic structure o f the process is that o f a demonopolized market supplied by (i) the mass media. a variety of secondary institutions —typically arising in subinstitutional movements around charismatics.6 repackages them. It can be individually combined with elements from other sets. and offers them for individual consumption and further private syn­ cretism. This social form o f religion can best be illustrated by recent syncretistic developments5 such as the New Age movement. the consciousness-expanding line. In recent decades. successfully shaped important aspects of modern consciousness. but the chances of success for such firm institutionalizations are not great. pocketbooks on popular psychology —especially psychoanalysis —Eastern mystical literature. marginally scientific. and similar movements . to intermedi­ ate and. o f packaging the results in easily digestible portions. and (iv) subinstltutional. now seem to have become characteristic of the orientations of btoad strata of embourgeoise populations. The New Age movement programmatically refuses organization in terms of big institutions. and the like. commercial­ ized enterprises in astrology. more and more. and small-group revival attempts of older occult. recruitment system.74 Thomas Luckmann Modern social constructions designed to cope with various levels of tran­ scendence are extremely heterogeneous. The ascendant privatized social form of religion is characterized by a wider range of different actors on the social scene being involved in the social construction of various kinds o f transcendence. and denominations) no longer represents the socially dominant form of religion. which are i harar tcrized by varied —generally weak —forms of institutionalization.which are notoriously unstable and offer considerable resistance to clear articulation in myths. For several generations. The deri­ vation of such notions from romanticism. which meets . minimal transcendences o f modern solipsism cannot be said to have been directly determined by a structural privatization of individual life in modern society. or disci­ plining apparatus. The sets are.7 The New Age movement illustrates the social form of the invisible religion. classlessness. entrepreneurs. spiritualist. None the less. instead. new religious communities formed around minor charismatics. such as spiritism. and the new occultism and (U predecessors. concern with minimal transcendences symbolized by such notions as self-fulfilment has become widespread. avant garde. B ut what were marginal bohemian. astrological advice columns. But their social distribution has become narrower. religion. race. (iii) the residual carriers of nineteenth-century secular ideologies. The New Age movement lays stress on the spiritual development of each individual. They can be taken up by groups —typically on the periphery of modern society —and converted into a sectarian model. rarely.the rising demand for an overall hierarchy o f meaning that overittmr* the specialization of those cultural domains. and of distributing the results to potential consumers. (ii) the churches and sects that are trying to reinsert themselves into the processes of modern social constructions of transcendence.

that these reactions. for example on the G u lf War. and other less rigorously structured forms of communication serving moral functions. public debates. Instead of segmentation. gossip in pri­ vate and institutional settings. if they existed — sophisticated hermeneutics of modern cultural productions. disorientation. that had found reasonably firm institutional bases.76 Thomas Luckmann art. traditions are actively maintained. privatized syncretism seems to have a better chance to become established as a (mini­ mally) social form of religion. religious and secular conversion stories. in situ and on television. in closed communities of various kinds. after all. It can be improved. One must distinguish between the sociostructural conditions (the specialization of institutional domains. 1972). meetings of local ecology groups. and the family table talks are from lower-middle and middle-class families. depth interviews and life histories. upon their emergence in modernizing societies. literary as well as electronic. and the like. But I do think that the procedure I am following has some advantage when compared with attempts to approach the grand issues of tradition and modernity in a direct way. etc.9 It seems unlikely. that is to fundamentalism. it offers integration . The limited scope o f the questions addressed permits. investi­ gation of the moral aspect of communicative interactions presents a difficult task to empirical research. None the less. Even so. radio call-in programmes. the lack of obligatory controls for private life and pluralism and a lack o f cognitive support for one’s own world view. the pluralism o f mass culture. magical world view supply individual searchers with the bricks and some straw for further individual bricolage (Campbell. A few words about the nature of these materials: they consist of hundreds of hours of recordings and transcriptions of family table talks from the south and east of Germany. analysis o f personal documents and content analyses of the mass media? All these are certainly better in furthering our understanding o f life in modern societies than free-floating speculation. The structural conditions leading to various privatized forms of religion characterized by the search for a new wholeness . Rich and voluminous as these materials are. to the results of an analysis o f the privatized social form o f religion. and the development of a market o f world views — all of which are prevalent in modern industrial societies) and the strains similar conditions produce. My observations must therefore remain tentative until such further evi­ dence becomes available. fire department alarm calls. I will also try to show The Privatization of Religion and Morality 77 how it bears upon the larger issue o f tradition and modernity. But first I should like to note that the restriction of my remarks to moral communica­ tion also has a methodological advantage. constitute the specifically modern moral repertoire in the overall comm unicative budget of a society. religious programmes on television. what would be a direct way? Public opinion polls. they may be worth presenting even at this early stage. Thus. which range from the Catholic Opus Dei to Protestant moral majorities. the New A ge and similar representatives of a holistic. So are — or could be. empirical answers. however. anti-smoking campaigns. which inform us about the product although not the reception side of modern culture. will prove success­ ful in the long run. In any case. M ORALIZING COMMUNICATION: OBSERVATIONS O N SOME M ODERN PROCEDURES Turning to some related notions about the nature of moral comrrfunication today. I suggest that it is in the processes of moral communication rather than in specifically moral institutions that one is likely to encounter the most significant part of whatever morality —traditional or other —can be found in modern societies. both substantively and by analogy. Protestant and Catholic versions of fundamentalism have chosen traditional models of wholeness in reaction to modernity (institutional specialization. and mass availability of immoral products and behaviour). I shall try to show why I think that this is so and how that assumption can be linked. They address a limited but important aspect of the general .intended to overcome the segmentation of meaning into specialized institutional spheres and cultural regions — also give rise to another holistic option that is diametrically op­ posed to bricolage. I do not pretend that even the restricted questions about contemporary moral communication which are discussed here will be easily and conclu­ sively answered by the kinds of materials my colleagues on a research project on moral genres of communication and I have gathered. The relatively sudden loss of religious legitimations for everyday life seems to lead to anti-modernist reactions among substantial segments of the popu­ lations of modernizing countries. the immorality of economic and political life.no matter how superficial this may seem to the outside observer. Only after many more years of concentrated research producing similarly detailed and concrete data from other modern societies could one say with any certainty what moral genres. I think that our attempt to analyse concrete communicative interactions in which. they are restricted with few exceptions to Germany.8 But even in modern Western societies. entry interviews in psychiatric wards. On the whole. genetic counselling as well as general family counselling. transformed or abandoned has the advan­ tage o f looking at the matter in situated contexts. The fit between this kind of world view and the social structural determinants of modem life is rather poor. at least in principle. however.

dissolution of traditions in modern society. obligatory traditional models of proper conduct and a good life. legal and economic functions of social life. structurally privatized. As a consequence of complex social structural transformations. remained in close attachment to the sacred universes and mundane institu­ tions of religion. At the same time. both liberated from. the individual soul in its rela­ tion to a sacred level of reality. The view of Durkhfeim. most significantly with respect to the emergence The Privatization of Religion and Morality 79 of modern societies in Western history —religion and law were functionally specialized in separate institutions. The overall meaning of the moral order was plausibly legitimated by reference to a transcendent sacred universe. of course. to what was increasingly defined as their special function. those which legitimated the meaning of the rules of conduct by reference to a transcendent universe. the persistence. and the retreat of morals from the social structure started a process which he called the ‘spiritualization of morality’ (1969. He re­ mained convinced that a society without a moral core as the centre of its integration was unthinkable. the moral order. Exam­ ples. Almost fifty years later. When we ask about the condition of typical modern individuals. perhaps. at least. Weber (1976) provided long before Geiger a more detailed account o f the secularization and partialization of traditional Christian ethics on an inner-worldly work-ethic.in moral outrage. Theodor Geiger. they demonstrate the persistence of traditional forms of moral evalua­ tion.or. My first observation . they may also bolster the plausibility of an assertion. suggested in his studies in the sociology of law that modern society was characterized by the dissolution of a generally obligatory moral code. cannot prove general assertions. and so did the social reach and influence of the legitimatory level of morals. Morals and religion. 121). When our contemporaries complain about others. In the long process of functional differentiation of the political. The social reach and influence of religious institutions began to shrink. In the most general terms.that modern morality is primarily located in com­ munication —needs to be placed in a general context. accuse them of misdeeds or apologize for their own faults. rather. in the contemporary Western world. when they become indignant and join —or refuse to join . and deprived of. indirectly. the emi­ nently social reality of morals and religion found their location in the most singular ‘institution’. When I suggested. The ‘upper reaches’ of morals. I already anticipated the first of my general observations. religious institutions too were increasingly restricted to their special function . when they gossip. too. Moreover. the obligatory social and intersubjectively compelling evaluation of human conduct by reference to a transcendent reality became weaker. a shift in the style that is gaining the upper hand in many kinds of social interaction rests on indirectness and obliqueness. W ith a certain degree of simplification one may assume that in archaic societies religion. the individual person. As the reach of religious institutions diminished. above. their communicative interactions may also offer useful hints about possible shifts in the nature of moral communication and. in the course of several human histories and. this was a necessary condition for the evolution of a functionally dif­ ferentiated. that they were very closely co-ordinated. The second one is somewhat f more specific. More specifically.78 Thomas Luckmann topic under discussion in the Lancaster conference. And moving from these observations to concrete examples may help in linking theory to the kind of evidence available in the everyday life of our contemporaries. that the most significant parts of whatever morality can be found in modern societies will be located in the concrete processes of moral communication rather than in moral institutions.was replac­ ing the moral system associated with a simpler division of labour. I think that although many traditional forms of moral com­ munication can also be found in the communicative repertoires of modern societies. took a definitive inner turn in the form of conscience and faith. Ju st over a century ago Durkheim (1893/1984) was concerned about the slowness with which organic solidarity . enforceable by the apparatus of the public agents of an (increasingly secular) political system. the code was generally obligatory for the members of a society. we would be well advised to look closely at what ordinary people do in social interaction and communication.more precisely. Weber and Geiger — and many others who . It seems obvious that a moral order of this kind no longer integrates modern societies. rationally organized complex society. The institutionalization of rules of con­ duct. change and. but in addition to illustrating a point. these transformations were the processes of the institutional specialization of func­ tions.which he thought was the necessary integrating force for societies with a complex division of labour . In the course of history . when they seek or offer advice. when they quote proverbs. morals and law had a common location in the social structure. p. The traditional moral code was specific in its values as well as in the correlated behavioural do’s and don’ts. transmit max­ ims and provide bits of wisdom. Breaches of the code could be clearly defined. they consisted of the legal institutionalization of the behavioural level of morals and the religious institutionalization of the legitimatory-meaning level of morals. legalized but potentially also de-moralized these rules (‘norms’). that is that the institutions serving these functions were characterized by what Robert Redfield (1965) once called ‘primitive fusion’ or. In his view.

some information about the other’s moral status and views. especially if they historically found an institutional base. explicit moralizing . morality. A brief terminological remark may help to understand the examples. Morality always also had a lo­ cation in the face-to-face interactions of the members of a society. in addition. However. in crisis. One may also assume with him that the type of individual morality that would be compatible with this state of affairs would have to be marked by an ethics of motive and subjective dis­ position (a Gesinnungsethik) rather than by a traditional or dogmatized ethics o f responsibility and accountability.becomes a risky intersubjective undertaking. social interaction in general —and most specifi­ cally. may respond by aggiomamento and moral indirec­ tion or they may respond by moral fundamentalism. In the following I will present some examples. moral consensus could be assumed until evidence to the contrary appeared. On the one hand. If. facades. the old ones. Geiger’s view that the rational organization of institutions in complex societies could only be hin­ dered by such a moral order. In modern soci­ eties. There can be differences. They do. my concern here is with moral indirection and obliqueness in ordinary communicative processes rather than in moral entrepreneurship of one kind or another. alternatively. must be accepted. too. I shall present examples of communicative processes in which 80 81 . One may consider Geiger’s metaphor essentially correct and say with him that morals have retreated from the social structure. The moral entrepreneurship of old and new Gesinnungsge­ meinschaften continues and their moralizing activities are often vociferous and politically influential —at least temporarily —on specific issues. N o doubt all social interaction involves moral aspects and all communication t oncains a moral dimension. about the meaning of this state of affairs and its social consequences. directly or indirectly. can exist without the integrating force o f a specific yet generally obligatory moral order. Assuming that these are valid observa­ tions —first. if it is true that traditional moral-meaning configurations have lost their social structural base. Similarity of views on morally relevant issues in social interaction needs to be cautiously negotiated in specific communicative processes between the parties to a social encounter. I will disregard this underlying morality o f all Mx iul life. Durkheim may be wrong in postulating that no society. But these may be minimal and normally impert rptible to the participants. that moral evaluation according to some trans-situational standards remains a necessary component o f the interactional order — some conse­ quences may be deduced. too. is privatized. Now I come to my second point. has some degree of plausibility. But in a wide variety of situations typical o f modern life the risk is increased. and some achieve a certain stability. Some risk o f moral dissensus is inherent in all social interaction.Thomas Luckmann The Privatization of Religion and Morality proceed from similar assumptions and observations — that modern societies no longer possess a generally obligatory moral order. medical. Their moral entrepreneurship is typically curried out behind scientific. In societies with a generally obligatory moral code and in which interaction based on highly anonymous social roles is less pervasive. Even then the scope for consensus over different areas of social life will be as open to question as its stability in time. it also remains true that notions of good and bad are still relevant to the planning. secondly. that a generally obligatory and specific moral code is absent and. one could say with some exaggeration. The risk of which I just spoke can therefore be minimized — or. are characterized by the peculiar fact that they do not present themselves as moral communities. on (he other hand. may be considered a form of indirection and obliqueness. the situation is reversed. That is the case even if one plausibly assumes that a dogmatized hierarchy o f values with canonic ideas of a good life is no longer as pervasive as it may have been in other societies. This. If it is true that morality has retreated from the institutions of social structure. complex moral-meaning configurations were integrated into the institutional norms of a society or even developed a special basis in moralreligious or specifically moral institutions. Many of the new ones. This does not imply that already established moral-ideological ‘commun­ ities of the mind’ (Gesinnungsgemeinschaften) have not survived. Moral consensus can be assumed only after evidence for that assumption becomes available. and if one proposes that in analogy to privatization as the newly dominant social form of religion. execution and evaluation of actions in the interactional order. But there is no reason to accept his notion that concrete morality has evaporated into the thin air of spirituality. How could it? It merely meant that the abstract levels of morals with their elevated rhetoric could in some way influence practical morals on the level of situated social interaction. A different possibility seems more likely. they perceive one another in terms of more or less anonymous social categories which carry. that did not entail a disappearance of morals from what Erving Goffman (1967) has called the interaction order. practical-problem-solving. consciously accepted in confrontation with moral ‘deviants’. Nor does it imply that new Gesinnungsgemeinschaften cannot become established. not even complex modern societies. Among persons who are not reasonably certain about each other’s moral attitudes and views. But it is likely that even in situations where the interacting individuals do not know each other. showing^an elective af­ finity for the type of morality best designated as Gesinnungsethik. In general it may be difficult to imagine any social interaction which is morally entirely irrelevant. however. But the old ones are in crisis and the new ones only rarely achieve stability.

although they need not be explicit —in fact. moralizing may be direct. we may first distinguish between the thematization of morals and moralizing. . my purpose is to show examples of moral indirection — are demonstrably perceived by the participants in the process. My examples begin with forms o f direct moralizing and then illustrate the speculation by intro­ ducing some indirect and oblique forms. BU: Yeah actually one doesn’t say passive but Q U IE T.) This thematization is not an immediate part of a positive or negative evaluation of the value o f ‘activity’ versus ‘passivity’. Thematization of moral aspects may be relatively free of moral purpose or it may be used specifically for moralizing purposes. GERMAN: 2 Direct Moralizing In this case of direct moralizing. in a conversation between a Chinese and a German teaching at a Chinese university. well I’ve learned in Western culture one should always be A CTIVE. Rather than sympathizing with him. but it doesn’t get you anywhere if you . . moralizing proverbs). but H ER E it is different. moralizing may be addressed to persons and refer to them or refer to absent third parties. It is again a sister who indirectly admonishes her brother not lo let things (arrangements for the continuation o f his studies) slide. you always only start things and then stop again. EXAMPLES 1 Thematization o f Morals Thematization o f morals frequently occurs. only a family WEISS. or it may be indirect and oblique. . The methods of moralizing may be linguistic in the narrower sense —e. . however. either on-going or past interaction. That the ‘question’ is not a question is well understood by the ‘culprit’. The speculation is that the significant parts of whatever there is of morals in modern societies are to be found in the interaction order. mimetic or a combination of these.g. Again. BU". the M O RE PASSIVE you are the better. Antje and Paul ANTJE: O k good. as it were. rhetorical. GERMAN: And eh I also A G R E E to that. The blame hides. Thematization communicatively presents moral aspects of social interaction. 83 Yeah. I find the activity o f a person very important. I haven’t got time anymore for gymnastics. and that the dominant style of moralizing in many kinds of typically modern social in­ stitutions will tend towards indirection and obliqueness. using various kinds of thematization (such as the use of maxims. as it does in the instance below. Puuh. I thought the Reichenau belongs to Constance. who hastens to apologize to the operator. ' in communication between persons who were brought up in different cul­ tures. moralizing may refer to on-going interaction or to reconstructed past actions. the complaint of a young man is countered by his sister. Here. ‘CULPRIT’: Yes I think they live on the Reichenau and actually not directly in Constance. Moralizing communicatively evaluates actions or actors. BU: but being Q U IE T -this is emphasized very much. semantic-lexical. . she blames him ‘characterologically’ (accusing him of once again starting something without following it through). Conversely. OPERATOR: (brusquely) W H Y did you say C O N STA N C E then? CULPRIT: I am sorry. one should not have any wishes. behind a ‘question’. OPERATOR: W ell then the number is . that B u (negatively) evalu­ ates passivity as an element of the conformism of Chinese culture. BU: h’yeah then. prosodic —or paralinguistic. yes one has to remain Q U IE T GERMAN: N O T say anything.The Privatization of Religion and Morality Thomas Luckmann 82 moral aspects. PAUL: It won’t get me anywhere b u t . (b) 7 don’t Understand' Constructions Another well-used form of indirect blaming consists o f ‘I don’t understand’ constructions. (Here. . The method of thematization varies from the concretely exemplary to abstract formulations. calls information and asks for the phone number o f a family called ‘W eisser’ in Constance. hm ’be contented with own situation with life. The transcript o f the entire episode shows. . OPERATOR: I have no family W EISSER in Constance. YOUNG MAN: SISTER: 3 Indirect Moralizing (a) ‘Why’ Constructions ‘Why’ constructions are a frequent form of indirect moralizing. The Telephone Operator S.

The norms of each subsystem are comparatively independent of the rules that govern action in other subsystems. SPEAKER: (e) Overall Indirectness Constructions In German genetic counselling. clients often want precisely that which the counsellor is not allowed' to offer. Beckford. and Joseph Chinnici. See. the historic context of Nazi racist eugenics is not forgotten. . STUDENT: CLIENT: COUNSELLOR: . W H Y don’t I A CT like the others. institutions have become highly interdependent elements of social subsystems. CLIENT: Hm. I don’t understand either why you just don’t call whatchamacallhim in Stuttgart and say that when you do your practical semester now. I think . NOTES 1 2 In a phone-in tc a radio programme on the behaviour of foreigners in Ger­ many. 85 3 4 5 6 7 H 9 This section o f the chapter is drawn from a previous article (Luckmann.which have been described by Max Weber as functionally rational ones . and so does my wife.) The narrative (expectedly?) elicits indignation and solidarity on the part of the listener. I w ould actually . . especially Robert Wuthnow. do you always have to dress up so fancy? LISTENER: (filled with indignation) Oh yeah. like your fellow students? W H Y must you. pp. 1991. jocular modulations. Tell him what’s going on. however. Donald Heinz (1985). . See Frank Lechner (1985). . Parsons spoke o f ‘institutional interstices’. . COUNSELLOR: . well. for example. . . Jam es A. For an early study. The code of proper counselling prescribes the giving of scientific information. See no reason that one would for that reason . ‘N ot quite diplomatic’). . (The ‘why’ format is evidently not limited to one culture. 176-9). it is not ‘always very good’.’ is used to convey advice (often over life and non-life). W e would like to have children ourselves. also Rodney Stark and W illiam Bainbridge (1986). see Andrew Rigby and Bryan Turner (1972). For ’cultic milieu’ see Danny Jorgensen (1982). . The connection of these norms . disinfluences (false starts and reformulations). institutions with similar functions coalesced into large specialized domains.to the ‘logic’ of a transcendent reality is severed. . wanted to confront me. It was actually interesting that they . The passage illustrates one of the practical ways in which the general problem is solved by indirection (‘I see no reason that one would . . The Privatization of Religion and Morality ANTJE: (c) Reconstructions (Direct/Indirect Example) This illustrates a narrative reconstruction of a past indirect blaming of a Chinese student by his party secretary. for example. which regulated social interaction in archaic and also in traditional societies. Bassam Tibi (1985). . and prosodic devices (complaining or brusque tone). (ed.’). . that you then would like to — next semester continue in Stuttgart again next semester. Other forms of indirectness and obliqueness include: euphemisms (‘Ju st a bit misplaced’. . I don’t understand. slowly accented one function and lost most o f the other functional components that originally constituted them. institu­ tionalized social interaction obeys rather heterogeneous norms. are. a sympathy-getting attempt at ‘fairness’ is made. Not unlike what Troeltsch rather misleadingly called mysticism’. We actually like chil­ dren. . Other people then. CLIENT: . See Needleman and Baker (eds) (1981). We don’t always behave in just the right way: it’s not always very good. Depending on the domain in which it is performed. At the same time. See Colin Campbell and Shirley Mclver (1987). (d) Litotes W e Germans! You have to look at it this way sometimes. In this connection. Then the secretary of the party at that time confronted me. Previously multifunctional institutions. Also Jam es Beckford (1986) and Beckford and Luckmann (1989). autonomous parts o f the social structure. These subsys­ tems. In contemporary industrial societies. The behaviour of German tourists is not characterized as downright bad. A t the same time. rather. In other instances the format. PAUL: I’m not gonna get a practical semester position any more. REFERENCES CLIENT: COUNSELLOR: I think. .Thomas Luckmann 84 If you think about now you just have to first o f all see how you can get your stuff put in order. go without children. ‘Other parents in this situation have decided to . . .) 1986: New Religious Movements and Rapid Social Change. and proscribes direct advice. . lz>ndon: Sage. such as the state and the economy. or with litotes. I like them.

Urban Life. Emile 1984/1893: The Division of Labour in Society. 3 8 3 -4 0 7 . Understanding the New Religions. W illiam S. 119-36. New York: Seabury Press. Andrew and Turner. Rigby. Robert 1965: The Primitive World and its Transformation. and Luckmann. London: SCM Press. Peck (ed. 5. 1982: The Esoteric Community: An Ethnographic Investigation of the Cultic Milieu. pp. London: Geotge 1 Allen and Unwin. Coleman (eds). Order. Heinz. Stark. and New Delhi: Sage. Redfield. pp. 59.). Lechner. the Cultic Milieu and Secularization. Campbell. Weber. Yearbook of Religion in Britain. 4 1 -6 0 . Tibi. Thomas 1991: The New and the Old in Religion. Frank J . Social Theory for a Changing Society. Joseph P. R. London. Selected Papers. New York: Russell Sage Foundation. vol. Max 1976: The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit o f Capitalism . Needleman and G. pp. pp. London: University o f Chicago Press. New York: Anchor Books. Colin 1972: The Cult. Needleman and G . Donald 1985: Clashing Symbols: The New Christian Right as Counter­ mythology. 1985: Fundamentalism and Sociocultural Revitalization in America: A Sociological Interpretation. pp. Baker (eds) Understanding the New Religions. 46. Chinnici. Frankfurt: Suhrkamp. Revival and Cult Formation. Part II Detraditionalization and Traditions Today . Berkeley: University of California Press. London: Macmillan. vol. pp. Campbell. San Francisco. 243-59Luckmann. Robert 1981: Religious Movements and the Transition in the World*'. Jam es A. In M. Geiger. In Pierre Bordieu and Jam es S. Colin and Mclver. 72 -8 6 . 16 7 -8 2 . Erving 1967: Interaction Ritual. 2 6 -3 3 . Centre of Light: A Sociological Study of New Forms of Religion. 34. 5. 1972: Findhorn Community. New York: Cornell University Press. Baker (eds). London: SCM Press. Danny L. pp. In Sociological Analysis. Bryan S. A Sociological. Jacob and Baker. H ill (ed. In Social Compass. Durkheim. In J . Goffman. Theodor 1969: On Social Order and M ass Society. Boulder. Rodney and Bainbridge. Newbury Park. George (eds) 1981: Understanding the New Religions. pp. Bassam 1985: Der Islam und das Problem der Kulturellen Bewaltigung Sozialen Wandels. Oxford: Westview Press. Needleman. 1981: New Religious Movements and the Structure of Religious Sensibility. 1986: The Future of Religion: Secularization.).86 Thomas Luckmann Beckford. Thomas (eds) 1989: The Changing Face of Religion. pp. 63-79. Shirley 1987: Cultural Sources o f Support for Contem­ porary Occultism. Wuthnow. In J . E. In Archives de Sciences Sociales des Religions. 153—73Jorgensen. 4. In A Socio­ logical Yearbook o f Religion in Britain.