Lois Lee

I am research associate with the Institute of Advanced Studies, UCL, and project lead of The Scientific Study of Non-religious Belief project, funded by the John Templeton foundation.

My research focuses on worldviews or existential cultures in modern and late modern societies, and my empirical work focuses on nonreligious perspectives and experiences, religious-nonreligious social relations, and on the nature of secularity and secularisation processes.

My monograph, Recognizing the Non-religious: Reimagining the Secular (OUP, 2015), centres on these issues, building on ESRC-funded doctoral research (‘Being secular: Towards separate sociologies of secularity, nonreligion and epistemological culture' (University of Cambridge)).

As well as particular expertise in nonreligion, secularity and so-called postsecularism, my wider theoretical interest is the nature of thought and action in differentiated and mediated modernity, and this interest connects my current work with past projects (e.g. the prize-winning undergraduate dissertation, ‘R. H. Tawney and the Webbs: Religion, Morality, and the Duality of British Socialism’; ongoing research with the Cambridge-MIT Institute into Distributed Working, and so on).

I am interested in working with research communities in the wide dissemination of research. I am co-director of the Nonreligion and Secularity Research Network (NSRN), editor of the NSRN’s website, NSRN Online, co-editor of the journal, Secularism and Nonreligion (SN) and a series editor of the NSRN-De Gruyter book series, 'Religion and Its Others: Studies in Religion, Nonreligion and Secularity'. I have worked with community groups and national and local media to disseminate my own and NSRN research outside of academia, including writing for The Guardian, New Scientist, The Age, and have appeared on various radio programmes including BBC Radio 4’s Beyond Belief and Thinking Allowed.

I have taught at undergraduate and graduate level for the University of Cambridge, the University of Kent and elsewhere, on the study of religion (and nonreligion), sociology of religion, social theory of modernity, introduction to sociology, and qualitative social research methods.

Contributions by Lois Lee



It is fast becoming a tradition in ‘nonreligion’ research to acknowledge that Colin Campbell’s seminal call in Toward a Sociology of Irreligion (1971) for a widespread sociological analysis’ of ‘nonreligion’ had until very recently been ignored (Bullivant and Lee 2012). Although there has been a steady stream of output on secularisation, and more recently on atheism, ...




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 ...




From Non-Religion to Unbelief? A developing field...

In this podcast, we check in with the state of the field, discuss developments beyond the Anglophone "West", some of the many exciting projects being worked on under the "Understanding Unbelief" banner, the utility and pitfalls of the terminology of "unbelief", and some of the critical issues surrounding the reification of survey categories.



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