Religion is of enduring importance in the lives of many people, yet the religious landscape has been dramatically transformed in recent decades. Established churches have been challenged by eastern faiths, revivals of Christian and Islamic fundamentalism, and the eclectic spiritualities of the New Age. Religion has long been regarded by social scientists and psychologists as a key source of identity formation, ranging from personal conversion experiences to collective association with fellow believers. This book addresses the need for a reassessment of issues relating to identity in the light of current transformations in society as a whole and religion in particular. Drawing together case-studies from many different expressions of faith and belief - Hindu, Muslim, Roman Catholic, Anglican, New Age - leading scholars ask how contemporary religions or spiritualities respond to the challenge of forming individual and collective identities in a nation context marked by secularisation and postmodern decentring of culture, as well as religious revitalisation. The book focuses on Britain as a context for religious change, but asks important questions that are of universal significance for those studying religion: How is personal and collective identity constructed in a world of multiple social and cultural influences? What role can religion play in creating, reinforcing or even transforming such identity?
'… the collection's diversity is a great strength… The coherence of the whole book also owes much to the extended introduction by Simon Coleman and Peter Collins, which offers a helpful survey of current scholarly thinking on religion and identity, set in the context of wider debates on secularization and globalization. Researchers and teachers on religion in the contemporary British Isles will find a variety of interesting case studies here.' Theology
Contents: Preface, Kieran Flanagan; Ambiguous attachments: religion, identity and nation, Simon Coleman and Peter Collins; Losing our space, finding our place? The changing identity of the English parish church, Martin Percy; The changing identity of Catholics in Britain, Mike Hornsby-Smith; Identity and the Anglican priesthood: debates on the ordination of women and homosexuals in sociological perspective, Martin Stringer; Religion, identity and change in contemporary Wales, Paul Chambers; Unfinished business: devolving Scotland/devolving religion, Steve Sutcliffe; Time, place and Mormon sense of self, Douglas Davies; American-led urban revivals as ethnic identity arenas in Britain, Nancy Schaefer; Protestant women - political activists: tangling secular and religious identity in Northern Ireland, Katy Radford; Islam, identity and globalization: reflections in the wake of September 11th, 2001, David Herbert; 'I'm a Gujarati Lohana and a Vaishnav as well': religious identity formation among young Coventrian Punjabis and Gujaratis, Eleanor Nesbitt; Kinship identity and nonformative spiritual seekership, Matthew Wood; Index.