sociology of religion


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sociology of religion

the branch of sociology which deals with religious phenomena (see also RELIGION). Historically, the sociological analysis of religion was central in the analysis of most of the leading classical sociologists, notably WEBER and DURKHEIM. The ideas of these two theorists still constitute the core of the sociology of religion. Durkheim's work was concerned with the role of religion as a functional universal contributing to the integration of society. This remains the foundation of the FUNCTIONALIST THEORY OF RELIGION. Weber's concern was with the comparative analysis of the varying forms of religious belief and religious organizations, and the implications of these for the development of rationality and for social change (see PROTESTANT ETHIC, ASCETICISM, CONFUCIANISM, JUDAISM, CHURCH-SECT TYPOLOGY, THEODICY, PROPHECY). Prior to the work of Weber and Durkheim, the sociology of religion had viewed religion simply as ‘error’ (as for COMTE, or for MARX, e.g. the latter's conception of religion as the ‘opiate of the masses’), or it had speculated about the origins of religion and the stages of its evolutionary development (see TYLOR, SPENCER).

More recently, the sociology of religion has concentrated its attention on the process of SECULARIZATION occurring in Western societies. There have also been many studies of religious organizations (e.g. B.Wilson, 1967), especially ‘fringe’ religions and CULTS and SECTS (e.g. Scientology or the Moonies). In SOCIAL ANTHROPOLOGY, in HISTORICAL SOCIOLOGY, and in the study of contemporary non-European societies, comparative study of religion as a major social institution continues to occupy a central place in sociological analysis. See also CIVIL RELIGION, HINDUISM, ISLAM, BUDDHISM, CASTE.

References in periodicals archive ?
Among their topics are from theories of secularization and return of religion to religious complexity, religious practices in the framework of ash scattering and contact with the dead, sociology of religion in contexts: institutional constraints and personal beliefs, from sin to a gift from God: the changing nature of sport, and street religion: faith among Romanian beggars.
The Federal President discusses this with Evelyn Finger (head of department Faith & Doubt of the weekly newspaper DIE ZEIT), Hans Joas (Ernst-Troeltsch Honorary Professor of Sociology of Religion at the Humboldt University in Berlin and Professor of Sociology and Social Thought at the University of Chicago) and Mouhanad Khorchide (Professor of Islamic Religious Education at the Westflische Wilhelms-Universitt Mnster and Head of the Center for Islamic Theology Mnster).
Appiah starts with a classical canon of anthropology and sociology of religion, in the works of E.
This book would be an appropriate selection in graduate classes in Historical Sociology, the Sociology of Religion, Religion and Law, and in seminars on Pakistani discourses.
Anyone new to the field or students interested in studying how religions communicate, and how spirituality remains an embedded, integrated, universal value upon which many cultures base their deepest convictions and identities, would be able to research how academic thinking about media and religion has developed over the past 50 years as a sub-discipline of both the sociology of religion and sociology of media.
"It is my opinion that the lesson should be replaced by the sociology of religion, which would also contribute to the development of critical thinking.
Bucholc argues that the post-1990 reception of Weber ignored this in favor of "big" issues such as sociology of religion and modernization.
The sociology of religion is conventionally characterized as composed primarily of two competing schools of thought, the old, cultural perspective advanced by Max Weber, and the new, rational choice perspective advanced by Rodney Stark.
With a longstanding and deep interest in reforms in the Catholic Church in the post-Vatican II era, Hegy advocates a proactive stand in sociological research, which he cal s "a pastoral sociology of religion," with the goal of advancing an agenda for authentic religious renewal in the Catholic Church.
Saeed is a historical sociologist with substantive interests in sociology of religion, political sociology, human rights, and international law.
To that end, Moberg works in several disciplines: critical discourse analysis with its attention to ideology, hegemony, and power; economics; and media studies--all in the service of the sociology of religion. The mixture of these disparate disciplines necessitates extensive introduction and methodological groundwork in part 1 (nearly half of the book).
His research interests include violence and conflict in developing countries, sociology of health and illness, involuntary displacement and resettlement, gender and development, sociology of religion, health and human rights.