Religion on the Edge: De-Centering and Re-Centering the Sociology of Religion

Religion on the Edge: De-Centering and Re-Centering the Sociology of Religion

Religion on the Edge: De-Centering and Re-Centering the Sociology of Religion

Religion on the Edge: De-Centering and Re-Centering the Sociology of Religion

Synopsis

The thirteen essays in this volume challenge conventional scholarly approaches to the sociology of religion. They urge readers to look beyond congregational settings, beyond the United States, and to religions other than Christianity, and encourage critical engagement with religion's complex social consequences. Religion on the Edge offers groundbreaking new methodologies and models, bringing to light conceptual lacunae, re-centering what is unsettled by their use, and inviting a significant reordering of long-accepted political and economic hierarchies. The book shows how social scientists across the disciplines can engage with the sociology of religion. By challenging many of its long-standing empirical and analytic tendencies, the contributors to this volume show how their work informs and is informed by debates in other fields and the analytical purchase gained by bringing these many conversations together. Religion on the Edge will be a crucial resource for any scholar seeking to understand our post-modern, post-secular world.

Excerpt

This volume highlights a growing body of research that de-centers taken-for-granted categories in the sociology of religion and, by doing so, re-centers some of its central tenets. This work takes shape along the edges of the sociology of religion, where it intersects with other disciplines, and takes sociologists away from their traditional focus on the US context, Christianity, voluntaristic organizational forms (e.g., the congregation), and investment in presenting religion as a positive force in American life. In contrast, the work this volume highlights draws our attention to religion in non-US contexts, to non-Christian religions, to the variety of settings and structures that produce and shape religion, and critically engages religion’s social role and effects. As we argue, these are not just new arenas or approaches. While they do, in fact, expand interest in religion well beyond our sociological subfield and engage in and draw upon interdisciplinary conversations, they do not just leave the center intact. Taken together, the works we highlight critically challenge central ideas and concepts that have long held currency in sociological studies of religion. We intend this volume to further enliven ongoing conversations about the goals of our collective enterprise and the methods and theories best suited for their achievement.

In this spirit, our introduction is structured as a discussion of four of the central empirical and analytic tendencies in the sociology of religion in the US and as an account of what is going on at the edges where this core is being challenged. These four main elements are, to some degree, mutually constitutive. They developed together during years of internal debates about method and theory, and in response and rejoinder to the broader discipline’s (often limited and misleading) understanding of religion. They support each other, forming a lingua franca, that shape our shared frameworks for engaging the central questions that concern us.

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.