Linda Woodhead

Linda Woodhead is Professor of Sociology of Religion in the Department of Politics, Philosophy and Religion at Lancaster University. She has published widely on the growth, decline and transformation of religions in modern times; in Christianity, in An Introduction to Christianity (CUP 2004) and A Very Short Introduction to Christianity (OUP 2004), and as co-editor of Religions in the Modern World (co-edited with Koko Kawanami and Chris Partridge)In The Spiritual Revolution (Blackwell 2005, with Paul Heelas) which grew out of the Kendal Project, she considered the significance of 'alternative' spirituality and reasons for its rapid growth since the 1980s. She is also particularly interested in issues of gender and has written several articles on the reasons for women's preponderance in spirituality, including a 'gendering' of the secularisation thesis.

Until 2013, Linda was Director of the £12m UK research programme, the AHRC/ESRC Religion and Society Programme. She is also the co-founder of the Westminster Faith Debates.

Contributions by Linda Woodhead

podcast

The Secularisation Thesis

The secularisation thesis - the idea that traditional religions are in terminal decline in the industrialised world - was perhaps the central debate in the sociology of religion in the second half of the 20th century. Scholars such as Steve Bruce, Rodney Stark and Charles Taylor argued whether religion was becoming less important to individuals, or that only the authority of religions in the public sphere was declining.

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podcast

Editors' Picks 4: The Secularisation Thesis

In this, the penultimate Editors' Pick, David tells us why he chose his interview with Linda Woodhead on the Secularisation thesis as his favourite. The secularisation thesis – the idea that traditional religions are in terminal decline in the industrialised world – was perhaps the central debate in the sociology of religion in the second half of the 20th century.

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podcast

Should Scholars of Religion be Critics or Caretakers?

The inspiration for this episode came from one of Russell McCutcheon's works which we had encountered through the undergraduate Religious Studies programme at the University of Edinburgh, entitled 'Critics Not Caretakers: Redescribing the Public Study of Religion'. The result is this compilation of differing opinions and interpretations ...

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podcast

Is Britain still a Christian country?

In what sense can a country be “Christian”? Today on the Religious Studies Project, we welcome back Professor Linda Woodhead to discuss and interrogate the question "Is Britain Still a Christian Country?", the topic of her recent Croall Lectures at the University of Edinburgh.

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podcast

New Horizons in the Sociology of Religion: Beyond Secularization?

In this longer-than-usual episode, Chris and David provide an interlinking narrative between Grace Davie, Joe Webster, Carole Cusack, Jonathan Jong, Paul-Francois Tremlett, Linda Woodhead and Kim Knott, reflecting on current or future developments in the sociology of religion which challenge the ubiquity of the secularization thesis, ...

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