An Introduction to the Sociology of Religion

What is the sociology of religion? What are its particular concerns, dominant themes and defining methodologies? Where did it begin, and how has it evolved? This interview with Grace Davie, the first in our BSA SOCREL series, introduces this important and historically influential approach to the study of religion.

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    The Religious Studies Project (RSP) is an international collaborative enterprise producing weekly podcasts with leading scholars on the social-scientific study of religion. Find out more…

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  • Whither the Sociology of Religion?

    I cannot help but think that the field’s continued reliance on these classical thinkers works to limit the possibilities for analysis to those concerns raised by such figures even in the midst of increased calls for non-Western scholarly interlocutors and more diverse research sites.

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    Theoretical Veganism: Practicing Religious Studies without Religion

    Perhaps it is time to stop treating the word “religion” as a tool of the scholar and to start treating it as the very object of study.

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    The Deconstruction of Religion: So What?

    Scholars who deconstruct without re-construction undertake a feeble version of deconstruction that undermines itself (often without realising it).

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    Categorising “Religion”: From Case Studies to Methodology

    In this interview, Dr Teemu Taira discusses the role of marginal traditions in understanding the application of the term “religion” in differing context, in particular he discusses Karhun Kansa, the People of the Bear. This leads onto a methodological discussion on the use of the term and the role scholars play in this discourse.

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    RSP subscribers get a 30% discount on “Implicit Religion”!

    Now published in collaboration with the Religious Studies Project, Implicit Religion was founded by Edward Bailey† in 1998 and formerly the Journal of the Centre for the Study of Implicit Religion and Contemporary Spirituality.

    Subscribers to the RSP receive a 30% discount on subscriptions. Click here to access the journal’s subscription page

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    Global(ized) religion and the study of religious tensions

    This interview with global studies pioneer Mark Juergensmeyer takes on his keynote address at the 2016 Eastern International Meeting of the American Academy of Religion (EIR-AAR) at the University of Pittsburgh. He interrogates the intersections of different religions traditions, questions the world religion paradigm as taught in universities today, and examines new phenomena caused by decentralized localized antiauthoritarian characteristics of globalization.

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    Timeless Yoga and Sinister Yogis: David Gordon White’s Brief History of Yoga

    The current proliferation of studies exploring the development of contemporary yoga can be seen as a direct challenge to popular perceptions of yoga as a timeless and unified practice which are reproduced (often as a marketing ploy) in non-academic contexts.

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    Historical, Popular, and Scholarly Constructions of Yoga

    In its earliest uses, the word “yoga” meant “yoke,” primarily yoking a warhorse to a chariot. In the classical period, yoga took on a variety of other meanings, including yoking the mind-body complex through meditative practices, such as breath control and mantras, to achieve liberation. In this interview, we discuss the history and development of yoga in its South Asian contexts, and then examine its transformations across the globe into the contemporary era.

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    Embodied religious practices, child psychology and cognitive neuroscience

    Bahler discusses the notion of ritual as a locus of power in terms of structure and agency. His recent book, Childlike Peace in Levinas and Merleau-Ponty. Intersubjectivity as a Dialectical Spiral (Lexington Books, forthcoming) focuses on neuroscience to grasp the topic power relations at the confluence of religion and other social influences on one’s trajectories.

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    ISKCON And When New Religions Aren’t So New Anymore

    A roundtable discussion considering the future of ISKCON and what happens when religions are no longer ‘new’.

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    ISKCON In Britain

    Kim Knott provides an overview of the Hare Krishna movement in Britain from its inception in 1966 to the present day.

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    The “Axial Age”: Problematising Religious History in a Post-Colonial Setting

    In the latest #RSPpod from our friends in Australia, Dr Jack Tsonis gets fired up about the “Axial Age” as well as the difficulties the immediate post-PhD years.

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    BDSM as Religious Practice

    Alison Robertson gives an insight to her doctoral research on BDSM as religious practice.

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    Permutations of Secularism

    In this interview, we first focus on the origins of the term “secularism,” the proliferation of its meanings, and the uses to which it is put in Anglo-American contexts. Then we discuss the uses of the terms secularism and the secular today, particularly using a specific case study from Joe’s research on American nonbeliever organizations.

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