Theorising Religion: Classical and Contemporary Debates

Front Cover
James A. Beckford, John Walliss
Ashgate Publishing, Ltd., 2006 - 257 pages
Religion is controversial and challenging. Whilst religious forces are powerful in numerous societies, they have little or no significance for wide swaths of public or private life in other places. The task of theoretical work in the sociology of religion is, therefore, to make sense of this apparently paradoxical situation, in which religion is simultaneously significant and insignificant. The chapters of part one consider the classical roots of ideas about religion that dominated sociological ways of thinking about religion for most of the twentieth century. Each chapter offers sound reasons for continuing to find theoretical inspiration and challenge in the sociological classics, whilst also seeking ways of enhancing and extending their relevance to religion today. Part two contains chapters that open up fresh perspectives on aspects of modern, post-modern and ultra-modern religion without necessarily ignoring the classical legacy.
 

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Contents

Durkheims Legacy
3
Weber Rationalisation and Religious Evolution in the Modem
19
Spiritualism and the ReEnchantment of Modernity
32
Towards
60
Religion in Ultramodernity
77
Giddens Theory
105
Religious Control Spiritual Search and
120
Understanding Honour and Religion as Resource and Constraint
132
Five Stories
169
A Minimalist Sociology of Religion?
182
Excarnate and Hypercarnate
197
Inner Speech and Religious Traditions
211
Social Theories of the Body in the Sociology
224
Integrating Studies of Race and Ethnicity with
237
Index
251
Copyright

Preference Structures and Normative Constraints in Movements Outside
149

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About the author (2006)

James A. Beckford is Professor of Sociology at the University of Warwick, UK, and John Walliss is Lecturer in Sociology at Liverpool Hope University, UK.

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