Pillarization is the segmentation of society into groups (pillars) that each identify with a particular religion or worldview, while the political representatives of each of these groups strive for mutual accommodation and conflict avoidance. While the term technically refers to a historical process, namely the emergence and expansion of this mode of dealing with pluralism, it is also used to refer to the result of such a process. Pillarization started to erode and dissolve (depillarization) after societal demands for democratization and liberation from institutional pressures sparked processes of secularization back in the 1960s.

Pillarization is found in some, though certainly not all, pluralist societies, the best examples being the Netherlands and Belgium. The former country is traditionally religiously pluralistic with sizable Catholic and Protestant groups ...

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