Women and Religion in the West: Challenging Secularization (Hardback) book cover

Women and Religion in the West

Challenging Secularization

By Sonya Sharma

Edited by Kristin Aune

© 2008 – Routledge

242 pages

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About the Book

What is the relationship between women and secularization? In the West, women are abandoning traditional religion. Yet they continue to make up the majority of religious adherents. Accounting for this seeming paradox is the focus of this volume. If women undergird the foundations of religion but are leaving in large numbers, why are they leaving? Where are they going? What are they doing? And what's happening to those who remain? Women and Religion in the West addresses a neglected yet crucial issue within the debate on religious belonging and departure: the role of women in and out of religion and spirituality. Beginning with an analysis of the relationship between gender and secularization, the book moves its focus to in-depth examination of women's experiences based on data from key recent qualitative work on women and religion. This volume addresses not only women's place in and out of Christianity (the normal focus of secularization theories) but also alternative spiritualities and Islam, asking how questions of secularization differ between faith systems. This book offers students and scholars of religion, sociology, and women's studies, as well as interested general readers, an accessible work on the religiosity of western women and contributes fresh analyses of the rapidly shifting terrain of contemporary religion and spirituality.

Reviews

’… an excellent piece of academic work that will serve both as an impetus for further debate as well as a platform for future research. … The volume brings together up-to-date research and raises significant theoretical issues on religion, gender and secularization.’ Nordic Journal of Religion and Society 'The primary contribution of the book lies in further empirically specifying the general insight that gender is a constructive aspect of how people as groups or as individuals are part of larger socio-historical developments such as secularization. Drawing upon women's voices and lived realities, it provides a well-founded critique of generalizing narratives about 'religion', 'secularism' and 'emancipation'. It also allows for comparative insights as the contributions are based upon the diverging experiences of women from various religious/secular, cultural, ethnic and national backgrounds. The book is therefore a must-read for those interested in comprehensive empirical accounts of the intersections between gender, religion, secularization and other 'markers' of sociopolitical differences.' Religion and Gender

Table of Contents

Contents: Introduction: women and secularization: one size does not fit all, Giselle Vincett, Sonya Sharma and Kristin Aune; Part 1 Christianity: Religious change in the West: watch the women, Penny Long Marler; Singleness and secularization: British evangelical women and church (dis)affiliation, Kristin Aune; When young women say 'yes': exploring the sexual selves of young Canadian women in Protestant churches, Sonya Sharma; Vocational habit(u)s: Catholic nuns in contemporary Poland, Marta Trzebiatowska. Part 2 Alternative Spiritualities: The spiritual revolution and the New Age gender puzzle: the sacralization of self in late modernity (1980-2000), Dick Houtman and Stef Aupers; The soul of soulless conditions: paganism, Goddess religion and witchcraft in Canada, Siân Reid; The fusers: new forms of spiritualized Christianity, Giselle Vincett; 'Because I'm worth it': religion and women's changing lives in the West, Linda Woodhead. Part 3 Islam : Counting women with faith: what quantitative data can reveal about Muslim women in 'secular' Britain, Serena Hussain; Real Islam in Kazan: reconfiguring the modern, knowledge and gender, Sarah Bracke; Being Muslim and being Canadian: how 2nd generation Muslim women create religious identities in 2 worlds, Rubina Ramji; Being seen by many eyes: Muslim immigrant women in the United States, Garbi Schmidt; Afterword, Mary Jo Neitz; Index.

About the Author/Editor

Kirstin Aune is Senior Lecturer in Sociology at the University of Derby, UK. Sonya Sharma is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of British Columbia, Canada and Giselle Vincett is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of Edinburgh, UK.

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:
REL000000
RELIGION / General