Religion is a critical construct for understanding contemporary social life. It illuminates the everyday experiences and practices of many individuals, is a significant component of diverse institutional processes including politics, gender relations, and socioeconomic inequality, and plays a vital role in public culture and social change. This handbook showcases current research and thinking in the sociology of religion. The contributors, all active writers and researchers int eh area, provide original chapters focusing on select aspects of their own engagement with the field. Aimed at students and scholars who want to know more about the sociology of religion, this handbook also provides a resource for sociologists in general by integrating broader questions of sociology (e.g. demography, ethnicity, life course, inequality, political sociology) into the analysis of religion. Broadly inclusive of traditional research topics (modernity, secularization, politics) as well as newer interests (feminism, spirituality, faith-based community action), this handbook illustrates the validity of diverse theoretical perspectives and research designs to understanding the multilayered nature of religion as a sociological phenomenon.
Part I. Religion as a Field of Sociological Knowledge: 1. The sociology of religion in late modernity Michele Dillon; 2. Studying religion, making it sociological Robert Wuthnow; 3. The ritual roots of society and culture Robert Bellah; 4. Social forms of religion and religions in contemporary global society Peter Beyer; 5. The evolution of the sociology of religion: theme and variations Grace Davies; Part II. Religion and Social Change: 6. Demographic methods for the sociology of religion Michael Hout; 7. Church attendance in the United States Mark Chaves and Laura Stephens; 8. The dynamics of religious economies Roger Fink and Rodney Stark; 9. Historicizing the secularization debate: an agenda for research Philip Gorski; 10. Escaping the procrustean bed: a critical analysis of the study of religious organizations, 1930–2001 Patricia M. Y. Chung; 11. Religion and spirituality: toward an integrated analysis Wade Clark Roof; Part III. Religion and the Life Course: 12. Religious socialization: sources of influence and influences of agency Darren Sherkat; 13. In rhetoric and practice: defining the 'good family' in local congregations Penny Edgell Becker; 14. Religion and health: depressive symptoms and mortality as case studies Michael McCullough and Timothy Smith; 15. Religion, spirituality, and vital involvement in late adulthood Michele Dillon and Paul Wink; Part IV. Religion and Social Identity: 16. Religious identities and religious institutions Nancy Ammerman; 17. Religion and the new immigrants Helen Rose Ebaugh; 18. A journey of the 'straight way' or the 'roundabout path': Jewish identity in the United States and Israel Arnold Dashefsky, Bernard Lazerwitz and Ephraim Tabory; 19. Beyond the synogogue Lynn Davidman; 20. Dis/location: emerging feminist inquiry in the sociology of religion Mary Jo Neitz; Part V. Religion, Political Behavior, and Public Culture: 21. Religion and political behavior Jeff Manza and Nathan Wright; 22. Religious social movements in the public sphere: organization, ideology, and activism Rhys Williams; 23. Mapping the moral order: depicting the terrain of religious conflict and change Fred Kniss; 24. Civil society and civil religion as mutually dependent N. J. Demerath, III; 25. Religion and violence: social processes in comparative perspective John Hall; Part VI. Religion and Socio-Economic Inequality: 26. Religion, faith-based community organizing, and the struggle for justice Richard Wood; 27. Latina empowerment, border realities, and faith-based organizations Milagros Pena; 28. 'Worldly' or 'other worldly'?: activism in an urban religious district Omar McRoberts.
"Michele Dillon has done sociology of religion a great service by bringing together many of its most distinguished and promising practitioners to address the field at large according to their special competencies and interests. She also succeeded in getting many of them to take each other's papers into account, so that the whole book hangs together....I cannot resist the observation that Dillon's roster of contributors is an all-star cast....In view of the overall breadth and general excellence of the chapters and could serve as the main text for an upper division or graduate survey course in sociology of religion. It will certainly serve as a resource for the preparation of lectures, not to mention as a stimulus to research. Nonetheless, at $30, the book is a bargain. It should be in the library of everyone who reads this review." Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion
"Editor Michele Dillon has pulled off quite an impressive feat: soliciting, assembling, and publishing 28 original essays by some of the top sociologists of religion in the United States....The majority of chapters are plainly articulated, informed by sound theory, and bolstered by compelling data....the list of contributors is the closest thing to a 'who's who` of contemporary sociologists of religion to appear in one text that I am aware of. For sociologists of religion, this is easily the best single compendium of research and theory to come out in years, and a hearty testament to the vitality and dynamism of the state of our crucial discipline." Phil Zuckerman, Pitzer College, Contemporary Sociology