Religion lies near the heart of the classical sociological tradition, yet it no longer occupies the same place within the contemporary sociological enterprise. This relative absence has left sociology under-prepared for thinking about religion’s continuing importance in new issues, movements, and events in the twenty-first century. This book seeks to address this lacunae by offering a variety of theoretical perspectives on the study of religion that bridge the gap between mainstream concerns of sociologists and the sociology of religion. Following an assessment of the current state of the field, the authors develop an emerging critical perspective within the sociology of religion with particular focus on the importance of historical background. Re-assessing the themes of aesthetics, listening and different degrees of spiritual self-discipline, the authors draw on ethnographic studies of religious involvement in Norway and the UK. They highlight the importance of power in the sociology of religion with help from Pierre Bourdieu, Marx and Critical Discourse Analysis. This book points to emerging currents in the field and offers a productive and lively way forward, not just for sociological theory of religion, but for the sociology of religion more generally.
Introduction: Thinking Theoretically in the Sociology of Religion
Andrew McKinnon and Marta Trzebiatowska
PART I: The State of the Art and Science of the Sociology of Religion
1 Thinking Sociologically about Religion: A Step Change in the Debate?
2 What Sort of Social Theory Would Benefit the Sociology of Religion?
PART II: History and Religion
3 The Axial Age Religions: The Debate and its Legacy for Contemporary Sociology
Bryan S. Turner
4 Hope and Religion
5 The Sacramental Mechanism: Religion and the Civilizing Process in Christian Western Europe with Particular Reference to the Peace of God Movement and its Aftermath
PART III: Religion and Modernity
6 Religion and Monetary Culture in the Sociology of Georg Simmel
7 Putting Baby Back in the Bath: Theorising Modernity for the Contemporary Sociology of Religion
PART IV: Ethnographies of Listening to Churches: Aesthetics and Rationality
8 Playing the Sensual Card in Churches: Studying the Aestheticization of Religion
Anne Margit Løvland and Pål Repstad
9 Listening Subjects, Rationality and Modernity
PART V: Power, Gender and Discourse
10 Critical Discourse Analysis and Critical Sociology of Religion
11 Beyond Habitus: Researching Gender and Religion through the Ontology of Social Relations