Foundations and Futures in the Sociology of Religion: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Foundations and Futures in the Sociology of Religion

1st Edition

Edited by Luke Doggett, Alp Arat


218 pages

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pub: 2017-12-18
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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.


'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

Table of Contents

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

About the Editors

Luke Doggett is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Criminology and Sociology at Kingston University. He was a member of the Kingston University Organising Team of the 2105 British Sociological Association Sociology of Religion Study Group’s 40th anniversary conference. His research covers the role that myth and religion have played in human life, drawing upon philosophical material.

Alp Arat is a research assistant in the School of Social Sciences at Cardiff University. His research in sociology of religion specialises in secularisation and postsecular theory, with a particular interest in contemporary practices of meditation. He is a former Committee member at the British Sociological Association's Sociology of Religion Study Group and he is currently working on the Leverhulme research project 'Beyond Personal Wellbeing: Mapping the Social Production of Mindfulness in England and Wales.'

About the Series

Theology and Religion in Interdisciplinary Perspective Series in Association with the BSA Sociology of Religion Study Group

The British Sociological Association Sociology of Religion Study Group began in 1975 and provides the primary forum in Britain for scholarship in the sociology of religion. The nature of religion remains of key academic interest and this series draws on the latest worldwide scholarship in compelling and coherent collections on critical themes. Secularisation and the future of religion; gender; the negotiation and presentation of religious identities, beliefs and values; and the interplay between group and individual in religious settings are some of the areas addressed. Ultimately, these books reflect not just on religious life but on how wider society is affected by the enduring religious framing of human relationships, morality and the nature of society itself. This series is part of the broader Theology and Religion in Interdisciplinary Perspective Series edited by Douglas Davies and Richard Fenn.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
RELIGION / General
RELIGION / Sexuality & Gender Studies
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Sociology of Religion