Religion and Change in Modern Britain (Paperback) book cover

Religion and Change in Modern Britain

Edited by Linda Woodhead, Rebecca Catto

© 2012 – Routledge

424 pages

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Paperback: 9780415575812
pub: 2012-02-14
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pub: 2012-02-14
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This book offers a fully up-to-date and comprehensive guide to religion in Britain since 1945. A team of leading scholars provide a fresh analysis and overview, with a particular focus on diversity and change. They examine:

  • relations between religious and secular beliefs and institutions
  • the evolving role and status of the churches
  • the growth and ‘settlement’ of non-Christian religious communities
  • the spread and diversification of alternative spiritualities
  • religion in welfare, education, media, politics and law
  • theoretical perspectives on religious change.

The volume presents the latest research, including results from the largest-ever research initiative on religion in Britain, the AHRC/ESRC Religion and Society Programme. Survey chapters are combined with detailed case studies to give both breadth and depth of coverage. The text is accompanied by relevant photographs and a companion website.


'Woodhead and Catto have assembled a powerful and refreshingly diverse team of specialists on contemporary religion and secularism. The result is a volume that is attractively presented and accessible, as well as authoritative. It will be essential reading for anyone who wants to know how and why religion in the UK has changed since 1945, and what its place in our society is today.' – Hugh McLeod, Emeritus Professor of Church History, University of Birmingham, UK

'This is an important book in terms of its provenance, content, and reflections … The book offers a coherent, rounded, and well-written account of the religious situation in Britain, one decade into the 21st century.' – Grace Davie, Professor Emeritus in the Sociology of Religion, University of Exeter, UK

'In this remarkable book edited by Woodhead and Catto, the new landscape of religion, belief and change is narrated in careful and challenging detail.' – Martyn Percy, Journal of Anglican Studies

'Based on extensive and wide-ranging research, the various chapters and case studies together present the most complete picture to date of the broad and changing British religious landscape of the postwar decades; from new Christian forms and the settling of Islam, Hinduism, and other religions in British society to new public ritualizations and the spiritualities in youth cultures and popular music. This is a must-read for anyone even remotely interested in the topic.' – Peter Beyer, University of Ottawa, Canada

'All in all, Religion and Change in Modern Britain presents a truly collaborative work which is consistentin its main argument and benefits greatly from theexpertise of scholars from different disciplines. It isessential reading for those who are interested in religiousstudies and societal change. Largely targeted atstudents and scholars, the book is written in a light andcomprehensive style, which is a remarkable achievementfor a collaborative piece.'Ekaterina Kolpinskaya, University of Nottingham, UK in Political Studies Review

"…the wealth of information makes [this book] a very valuable resource book for anybody interested in religious change in Britain. The book should also be praised for devoting considerable attention to changes in mainstream Christianity, a topic which is sometimes marginalised in contemporary studies of religion." -Pal Repstad, University of Agder, Norway in Journal of Contemporary Religion

Table of Contents

Notes on Contributors Introduction Linda Woodhead Chapter 1: Controversies as a Lens on Change Malory Nye and Paul Weller Part 1: Changing Religious Forms Chapter 2: Christianity: Loss of Monopoly Mathew Guest, Elizabeth Olson and John Wolffe Case Study 1: The Formation of the United Reformed Church Stephen Orchard Chapter 3: Judaism, Sikhism, Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism: Post-war Settlements Robert Bluck, Sophie Gilliat-Ray, David J. Graham, Gurharpal Singh and John Zavos Case Study 2: The Inter Faith Network and the Development of Interfaith Relations in Britain Brian Pearce Chapter 4: Alternative Spiritualities: Marginal and Mainstream Graham Harvey and Giselle Vincett Chapter 5: God-change Mark Chapman, Shuruq Naguib and Linda Woodhead Case Study 3: The Religiosity of Young People Growing up in Poverty Giselle Vincett and Elizabeth Olson Chapter 6: Changing British Ritualization Douglas Davies Case Study 4: Multi-faith Spaces as Symptoms and Agents of Change Ralf Brand Images of Religion and Change in Modern Britain: People, Events, Objects & Places Part 2: Wider Influences Chapter 7: The Changing Faces of Media and Religion Kim Knott and Jolyon Mitchell Case Study 5: Religion, Youth Cultures and Popular Music Brendan Stuart and Chris Partridge Chapter 8: Religion, Welfare and Education Adam Dinham and Robert Jackson Case Study 6: The Role of Faith-Based Organizations in Service Provision for Homeless People Sarah Johnsen Chapter 9: Religion, Politics and Law Gladys Ganiel and Peter Jones Case Study 7: Religion, Human Rights Law, and ‘Opting Out’ of Religious Education Alison Mawhinney, Ulrike Niens, Norman Richardson and Yuko Chiba Part 3: Theoretical Perspectives Chapter 10: Cultural Perspectives Callum Brown and Gordon Lynch Chapter 11: Social Perspectives Elisabeth Arweck and James A. Beckford Chapter 12: The Religious and the Secular David Martin with Rebecca Catto

About the Editors

Linda Woodhead MBE is Professor of Sociology of Religion at Lancaster University, UK and Director of the Religion and Society Research Programme. She is co-editor of Religions in the Modern World (2nd edition, Routledge 2009), co-author of A Sociology of Religious Emotion (OUP 2010) and The Spiritual Revolution (Blackwell 2005), and author of An Introduction to Christianity (CUP 2004).

Rebecca Catto is Research Associate for the Religion and Society Programme at Lancaster University, UK. She has published on religion and law, globalization, and is Principal Investigator on a project researching young atheists in Britain.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
RELIGION / General