Can religion revitalize civil society? An institutional perspective

Robert J. Wuthnow

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

18 Scopus citations


Assessing the role of religion in revitalizing civil society requires addressing four questions: What is civil society? What are the marks of its vitality or lack of vitality? Is there compelling evidence that some or all of these particular marks have declined? And how might religion contribute to the strengthening of those aspects of civil society that are declining or prevent their further erosion? I shall argue that recent scholarly literature on the first three questions is quite divided, meaning that the answer to the fourth cannot be straightforward. But I also suggest that a reasonable argument can be made for greater attention being paid-both by scholars and by policy makers and religious leaders- to the complex institutional realities of which contemporary society is composed and that doing so provides additional insight into religions contributions to the preservation of American democracy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationReligion as Social Capital
Subtitle of host publicationProducing the Common Good
PublisherBaylor University Press
Number of pages19
ISBN (Print)0918954851, 9780918954855
StatePublished - Dec 1 2003

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Arts and Humanities


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