Many aspects of religion are puzzling these days. This 2003 book looks at ways of improving our understanding of religious change by strengthening the links between social theory and the social scientific study of religion. It clarifies the social processes involved in constructing religion and non-religion in public and private life. Taking illustrations of the importance of these boundaries from studies of secularisation, religious diversity, globalisation, religious movements and self-identity, Beckford reviews social scientific knowledge about religion and assesses the strengths and weaknesses of a wide range of theoretical attempts to account for religious change and continuity. The discussion goes in two directions. The first is towards identifying ways in which studies of religion would benefit from taking better account of themes in recent social theory. The second is towards identifying reasons for social theorists to pay more attention to the findings of empirical investigations of religion.Read more
- Written by an internationally renowned sociologist
- Includes theoretical aspects of the sociology of religion and an analysis of trends in modern religion
- Encompasses both social theory and sociology of religion
Reviews & endorsements
'Some books transform our understanding of their topics. Fewer books transform their disciplines. And a very few transform those who read them, such that they can never again approach their own subject matters in their accustomed ways. Jim Beckford's long-awaited 'summa' may do all three.' Sociology of ReligionSee more reviews
'… a long-pondered distillation of major themes in the sociology of religion, expressed with clarity and logical consistency … should be mandatory reading for all sociologists seeking, in Max Weber's well-known phrase, 'to understand religion at the level of meaning'. Journal of Contemporary Religion
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- Date Published: August 2003
- format: Paperback
- isbn: 9780521774314
- length: 264 pages
- dimensions: 228 x 152 x 17 mm
- weight: 0.43kg
- availability: Available
Table of Contents
1. Religion: a social constructionist approach
3. The vagaries of religious pluralism
4. Globalisation and religion
5. Social theory and religious movements
6. Constructing religion, self and society.
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