An Introduction to the Sociology of Religion
Classical and Contemporary Perspectives
Is it true that religion is weakening in modern times, or are we facing religious resurgence? What is fundamentalism? How does it emerge and grow? What role does religion play in ethnic and national conflicts? Is religion a fundamental driving force or do political leaders use religion for their own purposes? Do all religions oppress women? These are some of the questions addressed in this book. An Introduction to the Sociology of Religion provides an overview of sociological theories of contemporary religious life. Some chapters are organized according to topic. Others offer brief presentations of classical and contemporary sociologists from Karl Marx to Zygmunt Bauman and their perspectives on social life, including religion. Throughout the book, illustrations and examples are taken from several religious traditions.
Table of Contents
Contents: Foreword; Sociological perspectives on religion; Religion as a phenomenon - definitions and dimensions; Classical sociologists and their theories of religion; Religion in contemporary sociology and cultural analysis; The great narratives: modernity, postmodernity, globalization, and secularization; Religion in the public sphere; Individual religiosity; Religious organizations and movements; Religion, social unity, and conflict; Race, ethnicity, and religion; Religion and gender; Sociology, theology, and religious faith; Bibliography; Index.
Dr Inger Furseth is a Professor in the Department of Sociology and Human Geography at the University of Oslo. She is the author of A Comparative Study of Social and Religious Movements in Norway 1780s-1905 (2003, Mellen Press). Her research centres on religious diversity, gender issues, social theory, and social and religious movements. Dr PÃ¥l Repstad is Professor in Sociology of Religion at Agder University College, Norway. He has conducted research and published in the fields of sociology of religion, social policy, and sociological methods. He is also the editor of Religion and Modernity. Modes of Co-Existence (1996, Scandinavian University Press).
'This book fills a niche by giving equal weight to the classical sociological tradition and to the sociology of contemporary religion. It looks not only at sociologists of religion, but at wider sociological theories with a bearing on religion. All of which makes it one of the most wide-ranging textbooks on the market. Clearly written and concise, the authors convey even the most complex theories with a minimum of fuss. A valuable textbook for students.' Linda Woodhead, Lancaster University, UK 'The arrival of a book of this quality is welcomed... This is an excellent text and would be recommended reading for students studying courses in this area and for educators who are looking for a book to either supplement or possibly replace the Hamilton text of their reading lists.' Theological Book Review ’... the authors have managed to give a very thorough and clear presentation of the complexities involved in every issue they tackle and in that reflect the actual state of the sociology of religion. Furseth and Repstad do so by straightforward writing, and by not shying away from unresolved controversies. They do not adhere to a narrow perspective of sociology and bridge to interdisciplinary approaches as in the more recent field of cultural studies. They draw on contemporary as well as classical research and theory and span multiple religions and cultures in their examples... the upper division undergraduate and graduate will benefit from the way issues are laid out and discussed, and the unresolved issues that are raised lend themselves to numerous teachable moments and topics.’ Teaching Sociology ’The book is indeed an excellent introduction to the sociology of religion for undergraduate sociology and religious studies majors, but is is also more than that... The authors, furthermore, manage to address some intricate questions of normativity in sociology and the sociology of religion in a straightforward and uncomplicated way... Furseth and Repstad's b