This fully updated Sixth Edition of Religion in Sociological Perspective introduces students to the basic theories and methods in the field, and shows them how to apply these analytic tools to new groups they encounter. Authors Keith A Roberts and David Yamane explore three interdependent subsystems of religion—meaning, structure, and belonging—and their connections to the larger social structure. While they cover the major theoretical paradigms of the field and employ various middle-range theories to explore specific processes, they use the open systems model as a single unifying framework to integrate the theories and enhance student understanding.
In this book, based on lectures that the author was invited to deliver in Japan, Bryan Wilson traces the dominant contours of religion as perceived by the sociologist. His themes range from the study of sectarianism, on which he is one of the relationship between religion and culture in modern societies of the West and the East.
In a world plagued by religious conflict, how can the various religious and secular traditions coexist peacefully on the planet? And, what role does sociology play in helping us understand the state of religious life in a globalizing world? In the Fourth Edition ofGods in the Global Village, author Lester Kurtz continues to address these questions. This text is an engaging, thought-provoking examination of the relationships among the major faith traditions that inform the thinking and ethical standards of most people in the emerging global social order. Thoroughly updated to reflect recent events, the book discusses the role of religion in our daily lives and global politics, and the ways in which religion is both an agent of, and barrier to, social change.
Religion is a major force in contemporary society. It is also one of the least understood social and political influences on individuals and communities. In this innovative collection of original essays and classic readings, experts explore the significance of contemporary religiosity: as a source of meaning and motivation, how it unites and divides us, and how it is used politically and culturally. Readers will be introduced to the broad debates in ways that will equip them to analyze, discuss, and make their own judgments about religion and society. This book should be read by anyone interested in understanding religion as a central source of meaning and politics, and is ideally suited for undergraduate teaching on religion and social issues and from a global perspective.
Religions have always been associated with particular forms of knowledge, often knowledge accorded special significance and sometimes knowledge at odds with prevailing understandings of truth and authority in wider society. New religious movements emerge on the basis of reformulated, often controversial, understandings of how the world works and where ultimate meaning can be found. Governments have risen and fallen on the basis of such differences and global conflict has raged around competing claims about the origins and content of religious truth. Such concerns give rise to recurrent questions, faced by academics, governments and the general public. How do we treat statements made by religious groups and on what basis are they made? What authorities lie behind religious claims to truth? How can competing claims about knowledge be resolved? Are there instances when it is appropriate to police religious knowledge claims or restrict their public expression? This book addresses the relationship between religion and knowledge from a sociological perspective, taking both religion and knowledge as phenomena located within ever changing social contexts. It builds on historical foundations, but offers a distinctive focus on the changing status of religious phenomena at the turn of the twenty-first century. Including critical engagement with live debates about intelligent design and the ‘new atheism’, this collection of essays brings recent research on religious movements into conversation with debates about socialisation, reflexivity and the changing capacity of social institutions to shape human identities. Contributors examine religion as an institutional context for the production of knowledge, as a form of knowledge to be transmitted or conveyed and as a social field in which controversies about knowledge emerge.
In the new edition of this widely praised text, Alan Aldridge examines the complex realities of religious belief, practice and institutions. Religion is a powerful and controversial force in the contemporary world, even in supposedly secular societies. Almost all societies seek to cultivate religions and faith communities as sources of social stability and engines of social progress. They also try to combat real and imagined abuses and excess, regulating cults that brainwash vulnerable people, containing fundamentalism that threatens democracy and the progress of science, and identifying terrorists who threaten atrocities in the name of religion. The third edition has been carefully revised to make sure it is fully up to date with recent developments and debates. Major themes in the revised edition include the recently erupted ‘culture war’ between progressive secularists and conservative believers, the diverse manifestations of ‘fundamentalism’ and their impact on the wider society, new individual forms of religious expression in opposition to traditional structures of authority, and the backlash against ‘multiculturalism’ with its controversial implications for the social integration of ethnic and religious minority communities. Impressive in its scholarly analysis of a vibrant and challenging aspect of human societies, the third edition will appeal strongly to students taking courses in the sociology of religion and religious studies, as well as to everyone interested in the place of religion in the contemporary world.
An Introduction to the Sociology of Religion provides an overview of sociological theories of contemporary religious life. Some chapters are organized according to topic. Others offer brief presentations of classical and contemporary sociologists from Karl Marx to Zygmunt Bauman and their perspectives on social life, including religion. Throughout the book, illustrations and examples are taken from several religious traditions.
Of the major world religions, only three, Buddhism, Christianity, and Islam have diffused widely. They were introduced across numerous socio-cultural boundaries and were received as new religions to their converts. However, these diffusing religions have had varying degrees of success from wholesale reception to wholesale rejection. This book presents the perspective that a major factor in the variations in the diffusions of these religions, and in the religions themselves, is found in the nature of the inter-group relationships between receiving groups and both sending groups and surrounding groups. A crucial perception of the receivers is the perceived contribution the new religion will make to the enhancement of important aspects of group identities and of the strength of the group. This book takes into account diffusion, an old and persistent concept in the social sciences which has been rarely applied in sociology to religions or even ideologies.
Religion and Indian Society: A Sociological Perspective, is a collection of twelve essays written by Prof. Venugopal on different facets of religion in Indian society. Recent developments in Indian society such as the march of secularism, growth in science and technology and modernization of economic and political spheres have not marginalized the religion. There are several socio-cultural problems which need to be tackled effectively by our religions and spirituality only. Hence, the religions in India such as Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Islam, Christianity, Sikhism and Zoroastrianism have provided not only an integral frame work for large groups of people but also offered solutions to the vexation of mind and spirit. Besides the religious impulse has stimulated not only routine activities but also special pursuits. The religious impulse has been predominant. Even today there are many prominent personalities in the country who have kept alive the religious inheritance. These essays which deal with the role of charisma in religious life, Bhakti reform, conceptualization of Hinduism and Pluralism, social stratification pioneers in Indian society, etc., are sure to provide new insights into the relationship between religions and society. These essays are concise, clearly written and stimulate discussion. In sum, the book presents an optimistic outlook which regards religion (in spite of its contemporary aberration ) as a vital force for the survival of the Indian society.
Why is religion still important? Can we be fully modern and fully religious? In this new edition, Davie follows up her discussion of the meaning of religion in modern society and considers how best to research and understand this relationship. Exploring the rapid movements within the sociology of religion today, this revised and updated book: • Describes the origins of the sociology of religion • Demystifies secularization as a process and a theory • Relates religion to modern social theory • Unpacks the meaning of religion in relation to modernity and globalization • Grasps the methodological challenges in the field • Provides a comparative perspective for religions in the west • Introduces questions of minorities and margins • Sets out a critical agenda for debate and research The Sociology of Religion has already proved itself as one of the most important titles within the field; this edition will ensure that it remains an indispensable resource for students and researchers alike.
Translated by Ephraim Fischoff With a new Foreword by Ann Swidler
Most Sociology of Religion texts are decidedly staid and uninteresting, covering "contemporary" developments which are only contemporary only from a disciplinary perspective. They are not contemporary if viewed from the perspective of the religion's practioners (in religious and non-religious settings). The textbooks that attempt to be interesting to undergraduate students often fall short because they either try to cover too much in an encyclopedic format, or sacrifice a sociological perspective for a personal one. Many use real-life examples only superficially to illustrate concepts. Lundskow's approach is the opposite—students will learn the facts of religion in its great diversity, all the most interesting and compelling beliefs and practices, and then learn relevant concepts that can be used to explain empirical observations. The book thus follows the logic of actual research—investigate and then analyze—rather than approaching concepts with no real bearing on how religion is experienced in society. This approach, using provocative examples and with an eye toward the historical and theoretical, not to mention global experience of religion, will make this book a success in the classroom. The author envisions a substantive approach that examines religion as it actually exists in all its forms, including belief, ritual, daily living, identity, institutions, social movements, social control, and social change. Within these broad categories, the book will devote particular chapters to important historical moments and movements, leaders, and various individual religions that have shaped the contemporary form and effect of religion in the world today.
The emergence of spirituality in contemporary culture in holistic forms suggests that organised religions have failed. This thesis is explored and disputed in this book in ways that mark important critical divisions. This is the first collection of essays to assess the significance of spirituality in the sociology of religion. The authors explore the relationship of spirituality to the visual, individualism, gender, identity politics, education and cultural capital. The relationship between secularisation and spirituality is examined and consideration is given to the significance of Simmel in relation to a sociology of spirituality. Problems of defining spirituality are debated with reference to its expression in the UK, the USA, France and Holland. This timely, original and well structured volume provides undergraduates, postgraduates and researchers with a scholarly appraisal of a phenomenon that can only increase in sociological significance.
For junior/senior-level courses in Religion and Society in departments of Sociology and Religious Studies. Using an unbiased, balanced approach, the 8th edition of this text puts religion in its social context by discussing the impact of society on religion and helps students understand the role and function of religion in society that occur regardless of anyone's claims about the truth or falsity of religious systems.
Since the sociology of religion became recognised as a distinct sub-discipline over the last century, the dominance of approaches taking their inspiration from the sociological classics has increasingly been challenged. Empirical findings have brought the notion of secularisation into question; and theorists have sought to deconstruct how we think of ‘religion.’ This collection appraises the continuing influence of the foundational approaches and places these in relation to newly emerging directions in the field. The book is divided into four sections, each section containing one ‘foundational’ chapter written by an established academic followed by two ‘futures’ chapters contributed by emerging scholars in the sub-discipline. These chapters complement one another by placing the overview of future directions in the context of a survey of the development of the sociology of religion over the last century. Topics discussed in these chapters include lived religion, sexuality, ritual, religion and the media. Combining erudite examinations of the British Sociological Association Sociology of Religion Study Group’s work so far with explorations of the future directions its research might take, this book is vital reading for any scholar whose work combines religious studies and sociology.
This topical collection of eleven commissioned essays by well-established contributors from sociology, religious studies and theology, is one of the first treatments of the relationship between postmodernity and religion from a sociological perspective. The essays cover a diversity of interests, but treat postmodernity in terms of its implications for the self, the New Age and theology, particularly Catholicism and Judaism. Two of the essays are original appraisals of two important French writers on religion: Jean-Luc Marion and Daniele Hervieu-Leger.
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.
Alternative Sociologies of Religion explores what the sociology of religion would look like had it emerged in a Confucian, Muslim, or Native American culture rather than in a Christian one. Sociology has long used Western Christianity as a model for all religious life. As a result, the field has tended to highlight aspects of religion that Christians find important, such as religious beliefs and formal organizations, while paying less attention to other elements. Rather than simply criticizing such limitations, James V. Spickard imagines what the sociology of religion would look like had it arisen in three non-Western societies. What aspects of religion would scholars see more clearly if they had been raised in Confucian China? What could they learn about religion from Ibn Khaldun, the famed 14th century Arab scholar? What would they better understand, had they been born Navajo, whose traditional religion certainly does not revolve around beliefs and organizations? Through these thought experiments, Spickard shows how non-Western ideas understand some aspects of religions--even of Western religions--better than does standard sociology. The volume shows how non-Western frameworks can shed new light on several different dimensions of religious life, including the question of who maintains religious communities, the relationships between religion and ethnicity as sources of social ties, and the role of embodied experience in religious rituals. These approaches reveal central aspects of contemporary religions that the dominant way of doing sociology fails to notice. Each approach also provides investigators with new theoretical resources to guide them deeper into their subjects. The volume makes a compelling case for adopting a global perspective in the social sciences.
"The reader is taken on a global exploration of the forms and diversities of religions and their social and cultural contexts... It is up to the minute in research and theory, and comfortably grounded in the traditions of the social explanation of things religious and spiritual." - Gary Bouma AM, Monash University "Tells how sociology of religion originated in the work of key nineteenth and twentieth century theorists and then brings the story into the present era of globalization, hybrid spirituality, and the Internet. Students of religion will find this an engaging and informative survey of the field." - Robert Wuthnow, Princeton University "It considers the 'big questions' - What is religion? How is religion changing in a modern world? What is the future of religion? - and addresses them through tangible case studies and observations of contemporary life. Its global perspective reflects the breadth, diversity and vibrancy of this field." - Sylvia Collins-Mayo, Kingston University This is a rich and dynamic introduction to the varieties of religious life and the central issues in the sociology of religion today. It leads the reader through the key ideas and main debates within the field as well as offering in-depth descriptions and analysis of topics such as secularization, fundamentalism, Pentecostal Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, atheism, 'The spiritual marketplace', digital religion and new religions like Wicca. Emphasising religion as a global phenomenon, examining especially the ways in which globalization has had an impact on everyday religious life, Singleton has created an illuminating text suitable for students in a wide range of courses looking at religion as a social and cultural phenomenon.
Religion Matters: What Sociology Teaches Us About Religion in Our World is organized around the biggest questions that arrise in the field of sociology of religion.This is a new text for the sociology of religion course. Instead of surveying this field systematically, the text focuses on the major questions that generate the most discussion and debate in the sociology of religion field.

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