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Oxford University Press is a department of the University of Oxford. It furthers the University's objective of excellence in research, scholarship, and education by publishing worldwide.

Print Price: $137.99

288 pp.
6 figures; 4 tables, 6" x 9"


Copyright Year:

Imprint: OUP Canada

The Sociology of Religion

A Canadian Perspective

Lorne L. Dawson and Joel Thiessen

Series : Themes in Canadian Sociology

This concise volume examines the changing religious landscape of Canada within the broader context of the contemporary world in which we live. Offering students an overview of the fundamental issues, perspectives, and insights shaping the sociological analysis of contemporary religions, this is the ideal introduction to the sociology of religion in Canada.

Readership : The Sociology of Religion: A Canadian Perspective is a core text suitable for sociology of religion courses that are offered out of sociology departments.

1. Religion in Canada, the West, and the Rest of the World
Religion in Canada: The View from Here
Religion in Traditional Societies
Religion in Contemporary Societies
2. Religion in Late Modernity
Expressive Individualism and the New Tribalism
The Risk/Trust Dialectic
The Transformation of Intimacy
Religion in the Late Modern World
Giddens on Religion
The New Religious Consciousness
3. Defining Religion
Traditional Approaches and Problems
The Late or Postmodern Critique of "Religion" as a Category
The Family Resemblance Approach
The Problematic Relationship of Religion and the Law in Canada
4. The Dimensions of Religion
5. Insights from the Sociological Theory of Religion
Classical Theory: Marx, Durkheim, and Weber
Marx and Social Control
Durkheim and Social Solidarity
Weber and Social Change
Contemporary Theory: Berger and Stark
Peter Berger's Theory of Religion
Rodney Stark's Theory of Religion
6. Arguments For and Against Secularization Theory
The Case for Secularization Theory
Peter Berger
Bryan Wilson
Steve Bruce
The Case against Secularization Theory
Jeffrey Hadden
Rodney Stark
Jose Casanova
7. The Religious Life of Contemporary Canadians
Religion in Canada before the 1960s
Religion in Canada since the 1960s
Which Is More Accurate: Secularization, Revitalization, or Polarization?
Religion, Teens, and Young Adults
Religious Socialization and the Future of Religion in Canada
8. The New Religious Diversity
Religion and Immigration in Canada
The Religious "Nones"
New Religious Movements
The Emergence of New Religious Movements
Accusations of Brainwashing and Sexual Deviance
The Social Significance of New Religious Movements
Critical Thinking Questions
Suggested Readings
Related Websites
Chapter 9: Summary and Conclusions

E-Book (ISBN 9780199000401):

Lorne Dawson is the chair of the Department of Sociology and Legal Studies at the University of Waterloo as well as a professor in both the Department of Sociology and Legal Studies and the Department of Religious Studies. He has published extensively across the discipline and is the author of Comprehending Cults: The Sociology of New Religious Movements, 2e (Oxford University Press, 2006).

Joel Thiessen is an Associate Professor of Sociology at Ambrose University College in Calgary (Alberta). The focus of his research is religion and culture in Canada, and his recent research has focused on the comparative analysis of those who attend religious services weekly, mainly for religious holidays and rites of passage, or not at all.

Comprehending Cults - Lorne L. Dawson
Eight Theories of Religion - Daniel L. Pals
Controversial New Religions - Edited by James R. Lewis and Jesper Aagaard Petersen
Making Sense in Religious Studies - Margot Northey, Bradford A. Anderson and Joel N. Lohr

Special Features

  • Canadian examples, perspectives, and research make this text - the only ground-up core Canadian textbook on the sociology of religion available - relevant and relatable to students in this country.
  • A contemporary focus offers students an up-to-date look at religion in Canada, as well as insights into the history of religion.
  • Strong theoretical coverage establishes a critical foundation for understanding the nature, form, and function of religion in Canada.
  • Accessible writing style conveys key concepts and issues in everyday language and includes engaging and relevant examples.
  • Balances classical and contemporary research, offering students a balanced treatment of the key approaches to defining and understanding religion.
  • Stand-alone chapter on secularism (Ch. 6) highlights influential theorists and the debates surrounding secularism, engaging students in a discussion about this important topic.
  • International examples, where appropriate, offer students insight into the global religious landscape.