RUB » CERES » Research

DFG Research Group “Transformation of Religion in the Modern Age”

Religion and Society in the Second Half of the 20th Century

The relations between religion and modernity are highly ambivalent. Whereas the previously dominant secularization paradigm had described the loss of significance of religion, recent decades saw the development of an opposing view, according to which the often-discussed decline in church membership and weakening church-state-relations are only two of the relevant phenomena. In fact, there has been an unexpected return of religion in various societal spheres.

This DFG research group examines the societal background of religious change, the changing perspective of religion and changing forms of religious organization. We are working on the assumption that changes in individual religiosity (including their institutional mediation) are closely connected to the differentiation of social spheres in 20th century industrialized societies. In addition, we will examine the religious change against the background of the current revolutions in education, communication, and time management with their new patterns of work and consumption. The research group is divided into three subdivisions:

  • religion and socialization (subdivision I)
  • social formations of religious action (subdivision II)
  • representation of religion in the Media and religious semantics (Subdivision III)

We focus our studies on the post-war period and the "dynamic times" of the 1960s and 1970s, which significantly affected the traditional forms of religious life. Our research explicitly considers new forms of religiosity.


2006 - 2012

Funded by


  • Religiöse Sozialisation in Arbeiterfamilien in der Bundesrepublik Deutschland und Großbritannien nach 1945. Ruhrgebiet und Südwales im Vergleich
  • Mediale Debatten über Kirche und Religion (1945-1980)
  • Migration und Religion. Eine historisch-komparative Untersuchung ausgewählter Migrantengruppen
  • Evangelische Pfarrer und religiöse Sozialisation. Institutionalisierte Religion und Säkularisierung in der Bundesrepublik aus sozialgeschichtlicher Perspektive (1950er-1970er Jahre)
  • Strukturelle Wandlungsprozesse der großen Konfessionen zwischen 1949 und 1989
  • „Semantik kirchlicher Öffentlichkeiten“
  • Pluralisierung des Religiösen. Zur Transformation religiöser Deutungsmuster in den „neuen“ Mittelschichten der BRD
  • Konfessionsverschiedene Ehen als Instanzen der religiösen Sozialisation. Zur Tradierung des Religiösen in (bi)konfessionellen Kontexten
  • Pluralisierung des Religiösen. Zur Transformation religiöser Deutungsmuster aus Sicht der Anbieterseite
  • Transformation der diakonisch-caritativen Handlungsformen der Konfessionen im Spannungsfeld von Wertorientierung und sozialer Dienstleistung
  • Visuelle Repräsentationen von Kirche und Religion (1945-1980)
  • „Zur Semantik kirchlicher Medien“

Affiliated Persons

Former Affiliated Persons