Theory culture & society vol:25 issue:6 pages:51-67
This article is concerned with thinking transformations of the secular, and does so in relation to two theoretical terrains, while empirically grounded in ethnographies of Christian and Islamic pious women in the Netherlands. A first theoretical terrain under consideration is that of how the relation between modernity and religion is elaborated, notably in secularization theories, and how these established frameworks are challenged by a different kind of articulation between modernity and religion that I observed in narratives and practices of young Evangelical and Islamic women in the Netherlands. The article traces the contours of a 'pious modern', showing how from a faith-centred perspective the modern can be incorporated and indeed produced. In this context, I argue that the way in which notions of modernization and secularization have been theoretically hinged on each other needs to be further revisited, and I propose to consider the 'post-secular' as a new disarticulation between the modern and the secular. A second theoretical terrain concerns questions of agency and subjectivity. Here I trace how situating religious agency in its own grammar makes secular assumptions in social, critical and feminist theory visible, and generates different understandings not only of agency but also of notions such as autonomy, and the capacity to act and shape the world.