Niklas Luhmann: His contribution to the sociology of religion

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2 Scopus citations


This article examines the version of religion outlined by Niklas Luhmann. In line with the tradition represented by Durkheim, Luhmann argues that religion embodies social reality. Nonetheless, according to Luhmann, society is not an abstract system, but a reality based on a commonly held stock of knowledge. Thus religious activity is the process whereby a common referent for interaction is established, and not something that originates from an abstract system. Religion, in this sense, is social and grounded. In order to illustrate clearly this shift in understanding religion, Luhmann's and Parsons’ work are compared.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)205-213
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Sociology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1987
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science


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