The Study of Secularization Signs in the Clergymen's Everyday Life

  • Degree: Master Thesis
  • Author: Zainab Mesgartehrani 
  • Supervisor: Dr.Maghsood Farasatkhah
  • Consulting Advisor: Dr.GholamAbbas Tavassoli
  • UniversityScience and Research Branch of the Islamic Azad University


Secularization is a concept that has recently been given a special attention by sociologists in the field of sociology of religion. This phenomenon occurs in different historical and social conditions. Throughout history, it has sometimes moved slowly beneath the skin of society, on some occasions, and has moved very rapidly on other times such that it has made revolutions on its route. The first indication of this phenomenon in Iran, as history bears witness to it, emerged in the contemporary era with the onset of modernization and constitutional revolution. This period has been reputed as “age of Iranian awakening”. One detects great changes in the culture and social customs during this period of Iranian history. These changes polarized the society at the time. On the one hand, a group of people hailed secularization and its outcomes, while the other part of society opposed it passionately. Many clergymen resisted these secularization trends and refused to go along with it. Nevertheless, despite all the oppositions, most of the society embraced modernization and secularization and followed its ever-changing universal process eagerly. Now, the question is, would the clergy experience secularization and modernization in their everyday lives, despite all their initial oppositions to it?

The present work, tries to answer this question, by looking for any signs of secularization in the everyday lives of clergymen in the year 2013—utilizing the descriptive phenomenological approach. To implement this study, data was collected through semi-structured interviews and field observation with clergymen. The participants were seventeen clergymen who were introduced to the researcher by their acquaintances and the results of these communications are presented here on the basis of purposeful sampling and snowball sampling.

These interviews were recorded and were later converted to text. The results of this study were then sorted in 26 main themes and 49 sub-themes, which in turn were classified into 11 clusters. These clusters are:

-          Opposing the perceived difference between the society and the clergyman

-          Worldliness and temporal life

-          Following fashion in their attire

-          Attempt to embrace secularization

-          Influence of secularization on clergymen’s families

-          Disbelief in blind imitation

-          Attention to increasing religious awareness

-          Moderation instead of religious extremism

-          Relativism in views and ideas

-          Moving away from traditional networks

-          Belief in progress as a necessary matter

Looking at these 11 clusters, one notices a correlation among them. Moreover, the findings of this study indicate deep structural changes in the society, which in turn have made clergymen adapt to these new trends, intellectually and personally, in order to maintain their connection and status in the society!

Remarkably, in this study, another aspect of secularization such as factors, barriers and outcomes, has been noticed. Factors classified into six clusters, barriers classified into six clusters and outcomes classified into four clusters.

Key words: Secularization, The clergyman, Signs, Everyday life, Phenomenological

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