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Price: $57.95

Paperback 1064 pp.
171 mm x 246 mm



Publication date:
March 2011

Imprint: OUP UK

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The Oxford Handbook of the Sociology of Religion

Edited by Peter Clarke

Series : Oxford Handbooks in Religion and Theology

The Oxford Handbook of the Sociology of Religion draws on the expertise of an international team of scholars providing both an entry point into the sociological study and understanding of religion and an in-depth survey into its changing forms and content in the contemporary world. The role and impact of religion and spirituality on the politics, culture, education and health in the modern world is rigorously discussed and debated. The study of the sociology of religion forges interdisciplinary links to explore aspects of continuity and change in the contemporary interface between society and religion.

Using a combination of theoretical, methodological and content-led approaches, the fifty-seven contributors collectively emphasise the complex relationships between religion and aspects of life from scientific research to law, ecology to art, music to cognitive science, crime to institutional health care and more. The developing character of religion, irreligion and atheism and the impact of religious diversity on social cohesion are explored. An overview of current scholarship in the field is provided in each themed chapter with an emphasis on encouraging new thinking and reflection on familiar and emergent themes to stimulate further debate and scholarship. The resulting essay collection provides an invaluable resource for research and teaching in this diverse discipline.

Readership : Suitable for scholars and students of the sociology of religion; of philosophy and ethics; of law and criminology; of ecology and health.


  • "This handsome book... is particularly welcome and should find a place in every well-stocked library, both academic and other... I particulary like the mix of experienced and younger scholoars who have been brought together in this volume and applaud the successful attempt to escape from a study of religion informed by Western, primarily Christian, notions of religion. A further question follows from this. Seriously confronting the realities of religion in the twenty-first century makes new demands on social science, which itself emerged from a similar (i.e., Western) context. To what extent, then, can these demands be met within the parameters of the sociology of religion as we know this? Peter Clarke's meticulously edited volume not only underlines the question, but indicates a way forward. He is to be warmly congratulated."

    Grace Davie, Theology 25/01/2010

  • "The contributors of these chapters have been chosen from an impressive pool of top international academics in the field. Not only has the editor done a great job in finding leading academics to write on the most topical issues, but also all the contributors have written a very informative piece, using the most recent data and theories. All the chapters are a delight to read...This is an impressive volume that will delight the student as much as the erudite in the field. All the academic libraries should order this volume as it will soon become an essential reference to any subject in the sociology of religion. It is a must for anyone who calls himself/herself a sociologist of religion to have a copy of this book on his/her bookshels."

    --Adam Possamai, Australian Religion Studies Review 13/05/2009

1. Peter Clarke: Introduction:Towards a Global Framework and Organic Understanding of Religion
I: Theory: Classical, Modern and Postmodern
2. William E. Paden: Reappraising Durkheim for the Study and Teaching of Religion
3. David N. Geller: The Uses of Max Weber: Legitimation and Amnesia in Buddhology, South Asian History, and Anthropological Practice Theory
4. Hans G. Kippenberg: Max Weber: Religion and Modernization
5. Bryan S. Turner: Max Weber on Islam and Confucianism: the Kantian Theory of Secularization
6. Inger Furseth: Religion in the Works of Habermas, Bourdieu and Foucault
7. Malcolm Hamilton: Rational Choice Theory: A Critique
8. Sian Hawthorne: Religion and Gender
9. Robert W. Hefner: Religion and Modernity Worldwide
10. Nikolai Wenzel: Postmodernism and Religion
11. Meerten ter Borg: Religion and Power
12. Matt Waggoner: Culture and Religion
II: Method
13. Ole Preben Riis: Methodology in the Sociology of Religion
14. Jeppe Sinding Jensen: Conceptual Models in the Study of Religion
15. André Droogers: Defining Religion: A Social Science Approach
16. K. Helmut Reich: Explaining Religion through Cognitive Science
III: Religion and related spheres: Morality, Science, Irreligion, Art and Sexuality
17. William Sims Bainbridge: Science and Religion
18. William Sims Bainbridge: Atheism
19. John Reeder: Religion and Morality
20. Robert Wuthnow: The Contemporary Convergence of Art and Religion
21. I. M. Lewis: The Social Roots and Meaning of Trance and Possession
IV: Religion and the State, the Nation, the Law
22. Phillip E. Hammond and David W. Machacek: Religion and the State
23. Christophe Jaffrelot: Religion and Nationalism
24. James T. Richardson: Religion and the Law: An Interactionist View
25. Enzo Pace: The Socio-cultural and Socio-religious Origins of Human Rights
V: Globalisation and its Religious Effects
26. Roland Robertson: Globalization, Theocratization and Politicized Civil Rights
27. Caroline Plüss: Migration and the Globalization of Religion
28. Anson Shupe: Religious Fundamentalism
29. Gary D. Bouma: Religious Diversity
VI: Standard or Mainstream Religion
30. Karel Dobbelaere: The Meaning and Scope of Secularization
31. Dean R. Hoge: The Sociology of the Clergy
32. Nancy T. Ammerman: Congregations: Local, Social and Religious
33. Lorne L. Dawson: Church-Sect-Cult:Constructing Typologies of Religious Groups
34. Sam Zubaida: Sects in Islam
VII: The Reproduction and Transmission of Religion
35. Mathew Guest: The Reproduction and Transmission of Religion
36. Wade Clark Roof: Generations and Religion
37. Penny Edgell: Religion and Family
38. Peter Collins: Religion and Ritual
39. Stewart M. Hoover: Religion in the Media
40. Gary R. Bunt: Religion and the Internet
VIII: New Religion, New Spirituality and Implicit Religion
41. David G. Bromley: New Religious Movements
42. Eva M. Hamberg: Unchurched Spirituality
43. Paul Heelas: Spiritualities of Life
44. Kennet Granholm: The Sociology of Esotericism
45. Edward Bailey: Implicit Religion
IX: Environmental and Social Issues
46. Mary Evelyn Tucker: Religion and Ecology
47. Wendy Cadge: Religion, Spirituality and Health: An Institutional Approach
48. Titus Hjelm: Religion and Social Problems: A New Theoretical Perspective
49. Anne Birgitta Yeung: Religion and Social Problems: Individual and Institutional Responses
50. Bryon R. Johnson: The Role of Religious Institutions in Responding to Crime and Delinquency
51. Keishin Inaba and Kate Loewenthal: Religion and Altruism
52. Mark Juergensmaeyer: Religious Violence
53. Michael Kirwan: Girard, Religion, Violence, and Modern Martydom
X: Teaching the Sociology of Religion
54. Eleanor Nesbitt: The Teacher as Religious Ethnographer
55. James V. Spickard: Ethnography/ Religion: Explorations in Field and Classroom

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Peter Clarke is Professor Emeritus King's College at the University of London and Professor in the Faculty of Theology at the University of Oxford.

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Special Features

  • State-of-the-art survey of the sociology of religion by a team of international experts.
  • Fifty-one essays provide coverage on the relation of religion to most aspects of contemporary life.
  • Thematically arranged to aid teaching and study.
  • An essential primary reference point and spur to further research.
  • The most comprehensive and authoritative guide available.