Since the sociology of religion became recognised as a distinct sub-discipline over the last century, the dominance of approaches taking their inspiration from the sociological classics has increasingly been challenged. Empirical findings have brought the notion of secularisation into question; and theorists have sought to deconstruct how we think of ‘religion.’ This collection appraises the continuing influence of the foundational approaches and places these in relation to newly emerging directions in the field.
The book is divided into four sections, each section containing one ‘foundational’ chapter written by an established academic followed by two ‘futures’ chapters contributed by emerging scholars in the sub-discipline. These chapters complement one another by placing the overview of future directions in the context of a survey of the development of the sociology of religion over the last century. Topics discussed in these chapters include lived religion, sexuality, ritual, religion and the media.
Combining erudite examinations of the British Sociological Association Sociology of Religion Study Group’s work so far with explorations of the future directions its research might take, this book is vital reading for any scholar whose work combines religious studies and sociology.
Introduction: Foundations and Futures, Luke Doggett and Alp Arat; Part I: Marking the Territory; 1 Sociological Approaches to Religion in Britain, Grace Davie; 2 Postsecularism: In Defence of a Fashionable Theory, Alp Arat; 3 Media and Religion – Bridging ‘Incompatible Agendas’, Mia Lövheim; Part II: Institutions and Agency; 4 Secularisation – with Added Agency, Linda Woodhead; 5 Secularisation and De-Institutionalised Religion: Future Directions, Gladys Ganiel; 6 Lived Religion and Sexuality: Future Directions, Sarah-Jane Page; Part III: Embodied and Material Religion; 7 On Things Seen and Unseen: Enlarging the Vision in Sociology of Religion, Nancy T. Ammerman; 8 Futures in Fashion: Modest Fashion Practices and Influence, Reina Lewis; 9 ‘So That You’ve Got Something for Yourself’: Knitting as Implicit Spirituality, Anna Fisk; Part IV: Religious Dimensions of Social Life; 10 Researching the Religious Dimensions of Social Life: The Sacred and the Social Uses of Moral Meaning in Contemporary Society, Gordon Lynch; 11 Embodying the Sacred: Understanding Responses to Human Trafficking, Amy M. Russell; 12 Sacralised Conflict and Ordinary Ethics: Palestine-Israel in British Universities, Ruth Sheldon; Conclusion: Challenges Facing the Sociology of Religion: The Past and the Future Are Not What They Used to Be, James A. Beckford
'Celebrating forty years of the British Sociological Association’s Religion Study group, this book provides an important statement of where the sociology of religion has come from and a clear indication both of its ongoing vitality, and clear direction for the future.' – Andrew M McKinnon, University of Aberdeen, UK