Although students and scholars of social problems have often acknowledged the role of religion, no thorough examinations of the relation between the two have emerged. This volume fills this gap by providing a definitive work on the role of religion in assessing, constructing, and solving social problems. Contributors chart the relation between religion and social problems, exploring such case studies as the impact of religion on drugs and alcohol use among Muslims, the rising importance that religion is given in social policy, the role of the Orthodox and Catholic churches in tackling social problems in post-communist East Europe, and the contested role of religion in the national and international politics of contemporary Japan. Religion and Social Problems is a broad and path-breaking contribution to the fields of sociology of religion, sociology of social problems, and religious studies.
Table of Contents
1. Religion and Social Problems: Three Perspectives Titus Hjelm Part 1: The Impact of Religion on Social Problems 2. The Indirect Result of Religious Norms and Practices: Explaining Islam’s Role in Limiting the Spread of HIV/AIDS Amy Adamczyk 3. Islam and Labor Market Integration in Denmark Peter B. Andersen and Peter Lüchau Part 2: Constructing Religion as a Solution to Social Problems 4. Religious Diversity and Social Problems: The Case of Britain James A. Beckford 5. Fighting Against Unemployment: Finnish Parishes as Agents in European Social Fund Projects Sanna Lehtinen 6. Religion as a Solution to Social Problems: A Christian Orthodox Approach to International Humanitarian Issues Lina Molokotos-Liederman 7. Religion and Social Capital Research in South Africa: Mapping an Agenda in Progress Ignatius Swart 8. Campaigning for Justice: Religious and Legal Activism in Challenging Illegal Immigration as a Social Problem in the U.S. Gastón Espinosa 9. Missionaries and Social Workers: Visions of Sexuality in Religious Discourse Marian Burchardt Part 4: Constructing Religion as a Social Problem 10. Perception of Muslims and Islam in Australian Schools: A National Survey Abe W. Ata 11. Religious Problems in Contemporary Japanese Society: Two Cases after the Aum Shinrikyo Affair Michiaki Okuyama 12. George W. Bush and Church-State Partnerships to Administer Social Service Programs: Cautions and Concerns Derek H. Davis 13. The Cult as a Social Problem Eileen Barker 14. Other Religions as Social Problem: The Universal Church of the Kingdom of God and Afro-Brazilian Traditions Steven Engler 15. Islam and Integration in German Media Discourse Yasemin El-Menouar and Melanie Becker
Titus Hjelm is Lecturer in Finnish Society and Culture at University College London. His main areas of expertise are cultural sociology, sociology of religion, social problems, social theory, media and popular culture. His research focuses on the role of minority religions in contemporary societies and the media treatment of alternative religion. He is currently working on a book on social constructionism (Palgrave Macmillan, 2011) and has published several books in Finnish and articles in journals such as Social Compass and Journal of Contemporary Religion.
“Extremely timely and compelling analyses of religion as it intersects with various social problems the world over. Highly recommended for anyone interested in understanding the complexities of religion in a global context.” - Dr. Phil Zuckerman, Professor of Sociology, Pitzer College
"Titus Hjelm has assembled a set of original papers that illustrate how social problems theory can be used to understand contemporary religious issues throughout the world." - Joel Best, University of Delaware
"Finely executed, this collection is a valuable resource for up-to-date evidence and deserves wide reading among both students and scholars." Nancy A. Schaefer, Sociology and Anthropology, Western Illinois University, Journal of Contemporary Religion