Encyclopedia of Religion
and Society

William H. Swatos, Jr. Editor

Table of Contents | Cover Page  |  Editors  |  Contributors  |  Introduction  |  Web Version


 The structuring of society into organizational complexes that promote social functions and activities on a religious or ideological basis. The core of a pillar may be a church or a political party. Such subsystems strive toward autarky by providing their members with all possible services—unions, insurance, banking, mass media, schools, hospitals, old people's homes, youth and adult movements. They emerged in the nineteenth century to protect their membership in a secularizing society or to emancipate the lower classes. In the twentieth century, they disintegrated under the impact of internal secularization or survived by generalizing their particular values.

Karel Dobbelaere


K. Dobbelaere and L. Voyé, "From Pillar to Postmodernity," Sociological Analysis 51(1990):S1-S13

S. Rokkan, "Towards a Generalized Concept of 'Verzuiling,' " Political Studies 25(1977):563-570

M. P. C. M. Van Schendelen (ed.), Consociationalism, Pillarization and Conflict-Management in the Low Countries (Meppel, Neth.: Boom, 1984).

return to Encyclopedia Table of Contents

Hartford Institute for Religion Research   hirr@hartsem.edu
Hartford Seminary, 77 Sherman Street, Hartford, CT 06105  860-509-9500