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The SAGE Handbook of the Sociology of Religion
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The SAGE Handbook of the Sociology of Religion


© 2008 | 768 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd

"Serious social scientists who care about making sense of the world can no longer ignore the fact that religious beliefs and practices are an important part of this world. Nor can scholars claim to understand religion by adding a couple of variables to their models, anymore than they could understand race, gender, or social class this way. This Handbook is a valuable resource for specialists and amateurs alike. The editors have done an exceptionally fine job of incorporating topics that illuminate the range and diversity of religion and its continuing significance throughout the world."
Robert Wuthnow, Princeton University

At a time when religions are increasingly affecting, and affected by, life beyond the narrowly sacred sphere, religion everywhere seems to be caught up in change and conflict. In the midst of this contention and confusion, the sociology of religion provides a rich source of understanding and explanation. This Handbook presents an unprecedentedly comprehensive assessment of the field, both where it has been and where it is headed. Like its many distinguished contributors, its topics and their coverage are truly global in their reach.

The Handbook's 35 chapters are organized into eight sections: basic theories and debates; methods of studying religion; social forms and experiences of religion; issues of power and control in religious organizations; religion and politics; individual religious behaviour in social context; religion, self-identity and the life-course; and case studies of China, Eastern Europe, Israel, Japan, and Mexico.

Each chapter establishes benchmarks for the state of sociological thinking about religion in the 21st century and provides a rich bibliography for pursuing its subject further. Overall, the Handbook stretches the field conceptually, methodologically, comparatively, and historically. It promises to be an indispensable source of guidance and insight for both students and scholars for years to come.

Praise for this text:

"In their introduction to this Handbook, the editors affirm: 'Many sociologists have come to realise that it makes no sense now to omit religion from the repertoire of social scientific explanations of social life'. I wholeheartedly agree. I also suggest that this wide-ranging set of essays should become a starting-point for such enquiries. Each chapter is clear, comprehensive and well-structured - making the Handbook a real asset for all those engaged in the field."
Grace Davie, Professor of Sociology, University of Exeter, UK

"In the last two decades the sociology of religion has experienced an intellectual renaissance. The old paradigm of secularization has been replaced with new theories and methods recognising the importance of religion in modern society. The new topics include women and spirituality, violence and power, globalization and glocalization, fundamentalism, identity and life course, spiritual markets and rational choice theory. The Handbook for the Sociology of Religion not only reflects but develops and extends this renaissance. Not so much a handbook but an intellectual feast."
Bryan Turner, National University of Singapore

 
PART ONE: THEORIES AND CONCEPTS
Randall Collins
The Classical Tradition in Sociology of Religion
Kevin J. Christiano
Assessing Modernities
From 'Pre-' to 'Post-' to 'Ultra-'  
N. J. Demerath III
Secularisation and Sacralisation Deconstructed and Reconstructed
Frank J. Lechner
Rational Choice and Religious Economies
Peter Beyer
Globalization and Localization
 
PART TWO: METHODS OF STUDYING RELIGION
James V. Spickard
Micro Qualitative Approaches to the Sociology of Religion
Phenomenologies, Interviews, Narratives, and Ethnographies  
David Voas
Surveys of Behaviour, Beliefs and Affiliation
Micro-quantitative  
John R. Hall
History, Methodologies and the Study of Religion
 
PART THREE: SOCIAL FORMS AND EXPERIENCES OF RELIGION
N. J. Demerath III & Arthur E Farnsley II
Congregations Resurgent
Paul Freston
Evangelicalism and Fundamentalism
The Politics of Global Popular Protestantism  
Thomas Robbins & Phillip Charles Lucas
From 'Cults' to New Religious Movements
Coherence, Definition and Conceptual Framing in the Study of New Religious Movements  
William Sims Bainbridge
New Age Religion and Irreligion
Marcela Cristi & Lorne L. Dawson
Civil Religion in America and in Global Context
 
PART FOUR: ISSUES OF POWER AND CONTROL IN RELIGIOUS ORGANISATIONS
Paula Nesbitt
Keepers of the Tradition
Religious Professionals and their Careers  
Patricia Wittberg
Orders and Schisms on the Sacred Periphery
Arthur E. Farnsley II
Faith-based Initiatives
Douglas E. Cowan
Religion on the Internet
 
PART FIVE: RELIGION AND POLITICS
N. J. Demerath III
Religion and the State
Violence and Human Rights  
J A Beckford & J T Richardson
Religion and Regulation
S E Nepstad and R H Williams
Religion in Rebellion, Resistance and Social Movements
Laura R. Olson
Religious Affiliations, Political Preferences, and Ideological Alignments
 
PART SIX: INDIVIDUAL RELIGIOUS BEHAVIOUR IN SOCIAL CONTEXT
Pierre Bréchon
Cross-national Comparisons of Individual Religiosity
Peter Kivisto
Rethinking the Relationship Between Ethnicity and Religion
John P. Bartkowski
Religious Socialization among American Youth
How Faith Shapes Parents, Children, and Adolescents  
Michele Dillon
Age, Generation and Cohort in American Religion and Spirituality
 
PART SEVEN: RELIGION, SELF-IDENTITY AND THE LIFE-COURSE
Arthur L. Greil & Lynn Davidman
Religion and Identity
Linda Woodhead
Gender Differences in Religious Practice and Significance
Phillip A. Mellor
Embodiment, Emotion and Religious Experience
Religion, Culture and the Charismatic Body  
Stephen J. Hunt
Religion as a Factor in Life and Death Through the Life-course
 
PART EIGHT: CASE STUDIES FROM AROUND THE WORLD
Fenggang Yang
Oligopoly Dynamics
Official Religions in China  
Irena Borowik
The Religious Landscape of Central and Eastern Europe After Communism
Stephen Sharot
Judaism in Israel
Public Religion, Neo-traditionalism, Messianism and Ethno-Religious Conflict  
Susumu Shimazono
State Shinto and Religion in Post-war Japan
Roberto J. Blancarte
Mexico
A Mirror For the Sociology of Religion  

"The handbook achieves an admirable synthesis of important efforts and will be particularly helpful as a means to orient beginning students in the sociology of religion."

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ISBN: 9781412911955

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