Social Theory and Religion

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August 2003



This 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. James Beckford reviews the current state of social scientific knowledge about religion. He clarifies the social processes involved in constructing religious and non-religious environments in public and private life. Beckford reveals the importance of these boundaries by referring to studies of secularization, religious diversity, globalization, religious movements and self-identity.


Introduction; 1. Religion: a social constructionist approach; 2. Secularisation; 3. The vagaries of religious pluralism; 4. Globalisation and religion; 5. Social theory and religious movements; 6. Constructing religion, self and society.


James A. Beckford is Professor of Sociology at the Department of Sociology, University of Warwick. His previous publications include The Trumpet of Prophecy. A Sociological Study of Jehovah's Witnesses (1975), Cult Controversies. The Societal Response to New Religious Movements (1989), Religion and Advanced Industrial Society (1989) and Religion in Prison. 'Equal Rites' in a Multi-Faith Society (with S. Gilliat, Cambridge University Press, 1998).


'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 Religion '... 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
EAN: 9780521774314
ISBN: 0521774314
Untertitel: black & white illustrations. Sprache: Englisch.
Verlag: Cambridge University Press
Erscheinungsdatum: August 2003
Seitenanzahl: 264 Seiten
Format: kartoniert
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