Workshop on Nones in Selected Countries, Muenster, 4-5 May

I’m in Muenster today and tomorrow for a workshop on ‘Nones’ in selected countries in Western and Eastern Europe and the US: A Comparison. It’s hosted by the ‘Religion and Politics’ Cluster of Excellence at Muenster University.

I’m presenting my paper today on ‘Nones’ in Ireland, North and South: Has the End of Ethno-Religious Violence and Institutional Abuse Contributed to the Rise of ‘No Religion’?

I must say that in recent casual conversations when I’ve told people I’m presenting a paper on Nones in Ireland, they assume I’m talking about the nuns who wear habits – or at least used to. Hence a bit of levity in illustrating today’s blog post with an image of said nuns.

In the coming days I will post more detail about my own and others’ presentations at the workshop, which deals with the following questions:

Who are the ‚none’s‘? What is their social-structural profile? What can we say about their religious attitudes? To what extent have withdrawals from church and to what extent have omissions of baptism contributed to the rise of ‘none’s’?

The papers of the workshop concentrate on the influence religious socialization in families exerts on church ties? They also should focus on motives for leaving the church.

One further point of the workshop pertains the question to what extent we can attribute religious attitudes to non-affiliated people. Are they as religious as church members, but in a different, more individualistic, alternative and syncretistic way? Are they looking for quasi-religious substitutes?  Do they still have high expectations towards the church?

By raising these analytical questions the workshop will contribute to a better understanding of processes of secularization and re-sacralization in Western European countries by identifying causal mechanisms which foster these ongoing processes.

This is the full programme:


Thursday, May 4th
2 pm Welcome

Detlef Pollack, Muenster

[Great Britain]

David Voas, London


Gladys Ganiel, Belfast

3.30–4 pm Coffee Break
4 pm


[The Netherlands]

Joep de Hart, Leiden


Jörg Stolz, Lausanne


Friday, May 5th
9 am [West and East Germany]

Detlef Pollack, Muenster

  [The U.S.]

Gregory A. Smith, Pew Research Center, Washington, D.C.

10.30–11 am Coffee Break
11 pm


Nonreligion in a nonreligious environment: Estonian perspective

Olga Schihalejev and Atko Remmel, Tartu


Gergely Rosta, Muenster/Budapest

12.30 pm


Conclusion, new insights, prospects for further research

Linda Woodhead, Lancaster


photo from Wikicommons, nuns form the Convent of the Holy Faith Ireland, 1915


One thought on “Workshop on Nones in Selected Countries, Muenster, 4-5 May”

  1. Who are the ‚none’s‘? What is their social-structural profile? What can we say about their religious attitudes? Gladys Ganiel.

    ‘Nones’ are presumably people who are considered to have no religion. How therefore could they have any ‘religious attitudes’?

    The questions are pointless without first defining religion and its purpose. Like any other man-made institution, religion must have a purpose. If the purpose has been achieved or is no longer relevant, the institution is redundant.

    If a redundant institution is to be preserved for its own sake it must find a new purpose.

    Dennis Golden

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