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.

Listen Now

This episode has not been transcribed yet. 

Consider a donation to pay for the cost of editing a transcript?

About this episode

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 introduces this important and historically influential approach to the study of religion.

In conversation with David G Robertson, Professor Davie – herself a highly respected theorist of religious change – discuss the four tasks of the sociology of religion; some early sociologists and their relationship to the social changes of their time; modernity, secularisation and a more recent social shift, the Internet; and how Europe may be the exception in the modern world, rather than the model by which all other states will necessarily proceed. They conclude by reminding listeners that we must always keep our theories foremost in our thinking, because they are as socially and historically contextual as the data we use them to interpret.

Consider next: The Changing Nature of Religion, or our podcasts on Emile Durkheim, Claude Levi-Strauss, Religion, Neoliberalism and Consumer Culture, Marxist Approaches, Bricolage and more…

 Fund the RSP while you shop! Use an Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.ca, or Amazon.com affiliate link whenever you make a purchase. There’s no additional cost to you, but every bit helps us stay on the air! 

We need your support!

Want to support us directly? Become a monthly Patron or consider giving us a one-time donation through PayPal

Related Resources

Editors’ Picks, Summer 2018: Critiquing the Axial Age

Response

In the first of our summer "Editors' Picks", Chris Cotter flags up an important interview, in which Jack Tsonis "demonstrates how the term 'Axial Age' shares much in common with the notion of 'World Religions' in that both - to quote the subtitle to Tomoko Masuzawa's seminal work - preserve 'European universalism [...] in the language of pluralism'."
Conference Report (and rant): Fandom and Religion, Leicester, 2015

Response

Conference report for The Religious Studies Project by our very own Venetia Robertson, RSP Editor and a PhD candidate at the University of Sydney. The University of Leicester hosted the Fandom and Religion conference this July 28-30 in affiliation with the Theology, Religion and Popular Culture network. A reasonably small conference with just over 30 presenters and 50 attendees, organisers Clive Marshall and Isobel Woodcliffe of Leicester’s Lifelong Learning Centre ran the event smoothly
History Repeated: Religious Conspiracy Theories Then and Now

Podcast

In this episode, Maxinne Connolly-Panagopoulus explores a range of Dr. Carmen Celestini's work on conspiracy theories, Christian apocalyptic thought and its impacts on political systems in America. They discuss early antimasonic movements, white supremacists from Christian Identity Organisation and discuss the parallels between old and new conspiracy thought and try to understand what is driving people to these movements.

Responses to this episode

From Secularisation to Religious Diversity: Understanding Religion in Europe

It may be said that secularisation has made the West religiously illiterate, in that it struggles to accommodate those who do not espouse its secular values, particularly the separation of religion from the state (la laïcité).In her interview with the RSP, Grace Davie provides a survey of the history of the discipline of sociology in the study of religion, and considers the manner in which it has developed in British universities, in contrast to European models.

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.Grace Davie’s discussion of the sociology of religion provides a comprehensive overview of the field. She offers insights garnered from her own eminent career within British sociology of religion and speaks ...

Other EPISODES YOU MIGHT ENJOY

African American Spiritual Churches

Podcast

The African American Spiritual Churches are combinatory religious sites, which blend Protestant, Catholic, Spiritualist, Haitian Voodoo, and Benin's traditional Vodun practices. Female leadership and business management has been essential in the history of these churches. Dr. Guillory's upcoming book draws on years of archival research, ethnographic observation, and oral history interviews to tell the story of these churches from 1920 to the present day.
Global Categories; Local Contexts

Podcast

Carlo Ginzburg is professor emeritus in History of European Cultures in Scuola Normale Superiore in Pisa, Italy. A distinguished historian with a remarkable career, Ginzburg is known for his microhistorical research approach. His most well-known book The Cheese and the Worms: The Cosmos of a Sixteenth Century Miller follows clues ...
Hyper-Real Religion, Digital Capitalism, and the Pygmalion Effect

Podcast

In this interview, recorded at the SocRel 2017 conference in Leeds, Professor Adam Possamai discusses the rising popularity of ‘Hyper-Real religion’ – a category encompassing Jediism, Matrixism, and other movements taking influence from popular culture. Situating hyper-real religions within the contemporary context of digital capitalism,
Deconstructing ‘Religion’ in Contemporary Japan

Podcast

In this episode, Dr. Mitsutoshi Horii joins Andie Alexander to discuss his recent book, The Category of 'Religion' in Contemporary Japan: Shūkyō & Temple Buddhism, where he demonstrates the necessity for understanding how and why certain groups come to be classified as 'religious' in contemporary Japan.
From the Ku Klux Klan to Zombies

Podcast

Many of us only know about the white supremacist group the Ku Klux Klan through film and television, and much of what we see blurs fact and fiction. Distinguishing each side of that messy divide is the prolific Kelly J. Baker, exploring how media portrayals of the hate group have influenced audiences and, in turn, fed back on its own members.
Focus on Fieldwork: An RSP Remix

Podcast

In the first RSP Remix, Dave McConeghy guides us through recent RSP discussions of fieldwork and its impact on scholarship. This episode features excerpts from conversations with Christopher R. Cotter, Spencer Dew, Liz Bucar, Alyssa Maldonado-Estrada, Robin Veldman, Elizabeth Pérez, and Cristina Rocha.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution- NonCommercial- NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

The views expressed in podcasts, features and responses are the views of the individual contributors, and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Religious Studies Project or our sponsors. The Religious Studies Project is produced by the Religious Studies Project Association (SCIO), a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation (charity number SC047750).