Secularization: A Look at Individual Level Theories of Religious Change

While it is often argued that the secularization thesis only referred to macro-level secularization – the separation of religion from other societal spheres in the process of functional differentiation (cf. e.g. Wilson 1998) – there is no way of denying that most specific secularization theories also refer to a loss of significance of religion on the individual level, explicitly or implicitly,
America
Bjoern Mastiaux
Dusseldorf
Linda Woodhead
Religious Decline
Secularization

Religion’s common denominators, and a plea for data

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Beit-Hallahmi rightly notes that psychologists of religion focus on the psychological common denominators that associate with religious beliefs. Some of these are cognitive processes; for instance, Barrett (2000) has discussed the ‘Hyperactive Agent Detection Device’, a cognitive feature whereby humans (and some animals) tend to misperceive the movements of objects in the world as intentional, even if the object is,
Beit-Hallahmi
Data
edinburgh
Longitudinal
psychology
religion
Stuart Ritchie

Divine Inspiration Revisited

When encountered for the first time, the idea of a fiction-based religion might seem quite ’far out’ and counter-intuitive. How is it possible to mix together religion (that, supposedly, deals with faith and so with a truth of some sort) and works of popular culture, which are clearly created by human imagination, and so are by definition not true?
Carole Cusack
Fiction-based Religions
Hanna Lehtinen
Invented Religions
jedi
Markus Davidsen
religion
Science Fiction
Tolkien

Ethnographic Fieldwork: Falling in Love or Keeping your Distance?

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Christopher Cotter
An anthropologist who has conducted fieldwork in Puerto Rico and in New York, examining, among other things, the lived experiences of possession and trance and as found among practitioners of Santería, Spiritism and other Afro-Cuban religious movements, Schmidt is well equipped to discuss the reality of undertaking ethnographic fieldwork on the topic of religion.
anthropology
Bettina Schmidt
Cambridge
ethnography
Fieldwork
Joseph Webster
religion

Roundtable: What is the Future of Religious Studies?

After this week’s podcast, which involved eight scholars giving their views on the future of Religious Studies, there was really only one way we could create a suitably collective and varied response – six postgrads sitting around a table, accompanied by pink gin and our trusty dictaphone. Conversation ranges from the public perception of what Religious Studies does, ...
Christopher Cotter
David Robertson
Ethan Quillen
Higher Education
Jonathan Tuckett
Kevin Whitesides
Liam Sutherland
Religious Studies

Circular Academia: Navigating the Dangerous Waters of Term Re-Assignment

" In our contemporary world we tend to find ourselves more absent-mindedly sailing toward the yawning mouth of that swirling vortex known as “a definition of religion.” We need to be cautious with the application of new terms. We seem too often prone to kneejerk patchwork, slathering layer upon layer of temporary fixes, either impudent in our knowledge of foundational issues, or victims of deep denial. We long to resolve ambiguity by applying more ambiguity, when we should just dig up the foundation and rebuild."
America
Christopher Cotter
Definition
Ethan Quillen
jay demerath
religion
Sacred

“Getting out there” with your research

"This post offers tips and advice for disseminating your research to a wider audience, beyond traditional academic mediums such as journals. This is based entirely on my own recent experience; as a Dickens scholar, the bicentenary celebrations brought about a number of opportunities and activities to talk about my research."
Charlotte Mathieson
Dickens
Press
Publications
publicity
Warwick

What to do with Davie’s ‘Vicarious Religion’?

Like with many of Grace Davie’s conceptualizations, the notion of “vicarious religion” is destined to garner much attention and debate. I must admit that when I first read about it, I rolled my eyes without really knowing why. Perhaps I predicted that the same puddle of ink would be spilt in debating the finer points of what was meant and what was actually meant by the new concept.
Amarnath Amarasingam
belief
David Voas
grace davie
Peter Berger
religion
Steve Bruce
Vicarious Religion
By sharjah_lover - http://www.flickr.com/photos/sharjahlover/327463339/in/photostream/

Academic Positions: The Application and Interview

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"My intentions rather are to assist applicants to understand a little better what all is involved in evaluating applicants for a position, and perhaps to help applicants prepare themselves better to participate in the application and interview processes." In what follows I have attempted to give some basic information and advice intended for the person who has recently finished graduate work and is seeking...
academia
hurtado
Interviews
Job Opportunities
resources

Meeting at the crossroads of public and private: sexuality and religion

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Christopher Cotter
In a recent podcast on Youth, Sexuality and Religion, Dr Sarah-Jane Page discusses research that she conducted along with several colleagues, that concerned young people, sexuality and religion. This is an immediately controversial subject and one that generates many questions. As this research focused on “lived religion”, that is how people experience religion in their everyday lives,
Christopher Cotter
gender
Jillian Scott
Private
Public
religion
Sarah-jane Page
Sexuality
Youth
By sharjah_lover - http://www.flickr.com/photos/sharjahlover/327463339/in/photostream/

Theses on Professionalization

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Too many graduate students seem unprepared for what awaits them once they complete their dissertations. Sadly, in many cases their professors seem not to have considered it to be their responsibility to provide them with some of the tools necessary for navigating the job market and beginning their careers. It is into this gap that the following twenty-one thesis statements--which have benefited ...
academia
Professionalization
resources
russell mccutcheon

Insider and Outsider: An Anthropological Perspective

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"What my own position may speak to is the categorisation of "religion"; when talked of in isolation, "religion" remains something fixed and visible. But in fact it intersects heavily across cultural domains, and having been in this ‘piggy in the middle’ situation, it is interesting to note the Christian heritage which is shared both by my family, myself and my non-religious participants: we are all insiders to a point."
Accessibility
anthropology
Christopher Cotter
Epistemology
Fieldwork
George Chryssides
Katie Aston
Nonreligion

Getting into Graduate School

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"Over the last few years, I’ve compiled a fairly large number of resources and points of advice that I offer [undergraduate] students. While some of the advice is biased by the particular field (psychology) and degree-type (PhD at a US research intensive institution) I have chosen, I think that there are some common elements that can be adapted to any field."
academia
Admission
Career
Erika Salomon
Higher Education
PhD
Research

An Evaluation of Harvey’s Approach to Animism and the Tylorian Legacy

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The interview with Graham Harvey on Animism was of particular interest to me because my Masters thesis concerns the theoretical relevance of the work of E.B Tylor, credited with introducing the concept of Animism to scholarship. Harvey related Animism back to the work of Tylor but when offered a definition of Animism by the interviewer (David Robertson), as “the attribution of a soul of some kind to non-human beings”...
animism
Graham Harvey
Liam Sutherland
Neo-Tylorian
Tylor

Using Bibliographic Software: Zotero or Mendeley?

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Christopher Cotter
"Managing your bibliography is one of the most essential skills you can develop as an academic. For some, the system will be a matter of organised chaos; a personalised mess of paper, online files, post-it notes which makes sense to you and only you. And that's fine. In the end, no one else needs to understand your system for organising your personal reference library. For others, there will be a complex system of neatly ordered cards or word-processed documents. And for others, like me, there will be bibliographic software."
Christina Costa
Mendeley
Referencing
resources
Salford
Zotero