Encyclopedia of Religion
and Society

William H. Swatos, Jr. Editor

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ACQUAVIVA, SABINO
(1927-) Professor of Sociology, University of Padua. President, SISR 1969-1971.

Acquaviva is most well known for his hypothesis concerning the eclipse of the sacred, first published as L'eclissi del sacro nella civiltÓ industriale (ComunitÓ 1961; Eng. trans., The Decline of the Sacred in Industrial Society , Blackwell 1971), prior to Harvey Cox's The Secular City (Macmillan 1965). Based primarily on statistics related to the drop in religious observance, his idea of a progressive disappearance of the sacred—later refuted by developments recorded in subsequent decades—gradually dwindled in his writings to the point of becoming a more limited concept, the "end of the magical use of the sacred" (in Fine di un'ideologia: la secolarizzazione , coauthored with R. Stella, Borla 1989). In such more recent works as Eros, morte ed esperienza religiosa (Laterza 1990) and the Preface to E. Pace's Sociologia delle religioni (Nuova Italia Scientifica 1992), he refers to the biopsychological and anthropological bases of religion, said to arise in the first instance from the "essential needs" of human beings.

Roberto Cipriani

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