The processes of secularization and clericalization in the modern world: seeking for a constitutional balance

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Author: Irina Alebastrova

DOI: 10.21128/1812-7126-2016-5-117-136

Keywords: constitutional state; constitutionalism; freedom of conscience; freedom of religion; priest-ridden state; religious liberty; secular state; secularization and increase of clericalism in the modern states


The main idea of the article is that the secular state principle is just a general trend being neither realized in real life nor even fixed by law. Most of the modern states are, to different extent, priest-ridden ones. Above all, in the modern world there is a trend towards clericalism growth that is opposite to the development of the secular state principle. Indeed, most of the modern states give ideological, financial, cultural, political, administrative and (or) legal preferences to some religion(s) or religious organization(s). The author analyzes each of those preferences and comes to the conclusion that their number and combination type determine a level of clericalism in each modern state in particular. There are being investigated processes, trends and reasons for secularization and increasing clericalism in modern states. There are a lot of reasons for clericalism growth in modern countries. In the author’s opinion among main of them are the aims of political elite at defusing religious tension in the society in case if the mechanisms of secular state are not effective enough for that; its efforts to strengthen moral principles in the society; its attempts to ensure the legitimacy of government thanks to a church support; its willing to spread the atmosphere of social optimism as a result of compensative function of religion. The author positively evaluates the role of clericalism in its different aspects and in different countries as well as the perspectives of clericalism and secularism growth in the modern world.

About the author: Irina Alebastrova – Candidate of Sciences (Ph.D.) in Law, Associate Professor, National Research University – Higher School of Economics.

Citation: Alebastrova I. (2016) Protsessy sekulyarizatsii i klerikalizatsii v sovremennom mire: poiski konstitutsionnogo balansa [The processes of secularization and clericalization in the modern world: seeking for a constitutional balance]. Sravnitel'noe konstitutsionnoe obozrenie, no.5, pp.117–136. (In Russian).


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