Social Theory and Religion
Many aspects of religion are puzzling these days. 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. 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, James A. Beckford reviews the current state of social scientific knowledge about religion.
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analysis approach argue argument aspects assumptions Beckford beliefs and practices Berger boundaries challenge Christian Church claims collective concept conceptualisations context countries counts as religion cults debates decline distinctive empirical ethnic evidence example fact faith communities forms of religion freedom fundamentalism Giddens gious global globalisation globalising world human rights identity ideological individualisation individuals institutions interest ISKCON Jehovah's Witnesses laicite ligion mass media meaning ments modern Muslims notions NRMs particular Pentecostal perspective phenomena pluralism political post-modern privatisation processes questions rational choice theory rationalisation reasons relations relatively religious beliefs religious change religious diversity religious move religious movements religious organisations religious pluralism sacred scientists secular secularisation sense significance social and cultural social construction social constructionism social constructionist social movements social scientific study social theory sociological sociologists sociology of religion Soka Gakkai International sphere spirituality study of religion supposedly tend theoretical ideas theorists Thomas Luckmann tion tradition