Congratulations to Agata Rejowska, CCS Visiting Graduate student in 2021, who has received the Best Early Career Article Award by the International Society for the Sociology of Religion in recognition of her article ‘Humanist Weddings in Poland: The Various Motivations of Couples,’ (Sociology of Religion, Volume 82, Issue 3, Autumn 2021). Agata presented an early version of the paper in the CCS Workshop in October, 2021.
Abstract: There has been a recent increase in the popularity of humanist (individualized and mostly secular) marriage ceremonies in Poland. The propagators of humanist weddings consider these rites of passage as an alternative to both civil ceremonies, which are seen as “bland” and “template,” and also to their religious, especially Catholic, counterparts. The conducted research reveals the various motivations of people who decide on a humanist marriage ceremony. In addition to “nonreligious” or “antireligious” motivation, the analysis also pinpoints “anti-institutional,” “individualistic,” and “practical” motives. The paper analyzes these various motivations. It additionally addresses the issue of the individualization of humanist weddings and the limits of this process. By drawing upon Neil Gross’s distinction between regulative and meaning-constitutive traditions, I argue that while humanist ceremonies are a sign of the undermining of the regulative traditions and their power, couples still deploy meaning-constitutive traditions to anchor their ceremonies.