Apr 26, 2020, 9:37 AM
Philip S. Gorski (2000) “Historicizing the Secularization Debate: Church, State, and Society in Late Medieval and Early Modern Europe, ca. 1300 to 1700” American Sociological Review (65:1) Special Issue: “Looking Forward, Looking Back: Continuity and Change at the Turn of the Millenium” pp. 138-167 http://www.jstor.org/stable/2657295
The Disciplinary Revolution
In his 2003 book, The Disciplinary Revolution: Calvinism and the Rise of the State in Early Modern Europe, Gorski offers a new explanation for the rise of a strong, centralized nation-state in certain areas of Europe in early Modernity, when other areas were not as successful. Gorski rejects two of the dominant explanations, which are the bellicist explanation, which sees military growth as key to the emergence of strong states, and the neo-Marxist explanation, which sees economic factors as key to the explanation. Instead, Gorski points to the strong influence of religion in the formation of strong states. Specifically, Gorski sees Calvinism as crucial to the emergence of the Netherlands and Prussia as strong, centralized states, because of its emphasis on discipline and public order. The effects of Calvinism could be seen in crime rates, in education, in military effectiveness, in financial responsibility, and many other parts of Dutch and Prussian social life, all of which increased their ability to form bureaucratic states. Where in the Netherlands the effect of Calvinism was from the ground upwards, as most of its population was indeed Calvinist, in Prussia—where most of the population was Lutheran and only the royal house was Calvinist—the effect was from the rulers downwards (to some extent through the Pietist Lutheran movement, which was influenced by Calvinism).