Disenchantment

In social science, disenchantment (German: Entzauberung) is the cultural rationalization and devaluation of religion apparent in modern society. The term was borrowed from Friedrich Schiller[1] by Max Weber to describe the character of modernized, bureaucratic, secularized Western society, where scientific understanding is more highly valued than belief, and where processes are oriented toward rational goals, as opposed to traditional society, where for Weber, "the world remains a great enchanted garden".[2]

Enlightenment ambivalence

Weber's ambivalent appraisal of the process of disenchantment as both positive and negative[3] was taken up by the Frankfurt school in their examination of the self-destructive elements in Enlightenment rationalism.[4]

Habermas has subsequently striven to find a positive foundation for modernity in the face of disenchantment, even while appreciating Weber's recognition of how far secular society was created from, and is still "haunted by the ghosts of dead religious beliefs".[5]

Some have seen the disenchantment of the world as a call for existentialist commitment and individual responsibility before a collective normative void.[6]