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Depillarization, Deconfessionalization, and De-Ideologization: Empirical Trends in Dutch Society 1958-1992

Paul Dekker and Peter Ester
Review of Religious Research
Vol. 37, No. 4 (Jun., 1996), pp. 325-341
DOI: 10.2307/3512012
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3512012
Page Count: 17
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Depillarization, Deconfessionalization, and De-Ideologization: Empirical Trends in Dutch Society 1958-1992
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Abstract

Until the sixties a salient feature of Dutch society was its 'pillarization', the segmentation of society in religious and secular blocs and subcultures. Each bloc had set up a whole array of organizations encompassing practically every sphere of social life. In the last three decades a number of both structural and cultural developments set in a process of depillarization. Based on longitudinal Dutch survey data -- covering the 1958-1992 period -- subjective identification with formerly pillarized ideologies is analyzed. It is found that identification has indeed diminished substantially, though primarily with religious ideologies. This article primarily addresses the issue of whether deconfessionalization or de-ideologization is the prime mover behind the decline of pillarized ideological identifications. It is found that in the first stages of depillarization deconfessionalization of Dutch society induced a process towards a decline of pillarized religious self-perceptions, while identification with pillarized secular attitudes remained rather stable. In more recent years de-ideologization became more prominent. Furthermore, it is observed that changes in ideological self-perceptions are particularly to be found among confessional groups who have become both smaller in number and less convinced of beliefs and behaviors traditionally linked with pillarized ideologies.

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