Sociological Theory and the Question of Religion: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Sociological Theory and the Question of Religion

1st Edition

Edited by Andrew McKinnon, Marta Trzebiatowska


274 pages

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Paperback: 9781138546288
pub: 2018-02-12
Hardback: 9781409465515
pub: 2014-11-28
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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.

Table of Contents

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?

Grace Davie

2 What Sort of Social Theory Would Benefit the Sociology of Religion?

Steve Bruce


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

David Lehmann

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

Andrew McKinnon


PART III: Religion and Modernity

6 Religion and Monetary Culture in the Sociology of Georg Simmel

Dominika Motak

7 Putting Baby Back in the Bath: Theorising Modernity for the Contemporary Sociology of Religion

Andrew Dawson


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

Anna Strhan


PART V: Power, Gender and Discourse

10 Critical Discourse Analysis and Critical Sociology of Religion

Titus Hjelm

11 Beyond Habitus: Researching Gender and Religion through the Ontology of Social Relations

Marta Trzebiatowska

About the Editors

Andrew McKinnon is Senior Lecturer in Sociology at the University of Aberdeen. He has published in numerous journals, particularly on the topic of religion and social theory. He is a member of the Editorial Boards of Sociology (Official Journal of the British Sociological Association) and the book series Critical Research in Religion; he is an Associate Editor of both The Canadian Journal of Sociology and of Sociology of Religion. Marta Trzebiatowska is Lecturer in Sociology at the University of Aberdeen. Her research interests include religion and gender, migration and social theory. She has published in the Journal of Contemporary Religion and Sociology. Her recent book (co-authored with Steve Bruce) explores the universal gender gap in religiosity (Why Are Women More Religious Than Men? 2012).

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 / Theology
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Sociology / General