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The Sociology of Religion

1. Why Do Sociologists Study Religion?

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About this Lecture

Lecture

In this module, we think about why sociologists are interested in religion. We begin by outlining secularisation theory, as developed by Karl Marx and Max Weber, before considering five reasons that religion has nonetheless remained central to sociology: (i) secularisation theory has been widely challenged; (ii) religion forms many people’s worldviews; (iii) it is necessary to understand contemporary conflicts; (iv) it helps to understand other areas of sociology, such as gender; (v) it is central to two core sociological issues - the problem of order and the problem of meaning.

Course

In this course, Professor Chris Shilling (University of Kent) provides an introduction to the sociology of religion. In the first module, we ask why sociologists continue to study religion despite the dominance for many decades of secularisation theory. The second module discusses some key problems sociologists encounter when studying religion, including issues with its definition. In the third and fourth modules, we consider some influential theories regarding the origins of religion and its place in society. In the final module we explore the role of religion in the contemporary world, focusing on three examples – religious radicalism, civil religion and prosperity Pentecostalism.

Lecturer

Professor Chris Shilling is Professor of Sociology at the University of Kent. He has written widely across a range of issues in sociological theory, including religion and the sociology of the body. His recent publications include Uncovering Social Life: Critical Perspectives from Sociology (2017, as co-author), The Body: A Very Short Introduction (2016), and Sociology of the Sacred: Religion, Embodiment and Social Change (2014, as co-author).

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Shilling, C. (2021, November 26). The Sociology of Religion - Why Do Sociologists Study Religion? [Video]. MASSOLIT. https://massolit.io/courses/the-sociology-of-religion/why-do-sociologists-study-religion

MLA style

Shilling, Chris. "The Sociology of Religion – Why Do Sociologists Study Religion?." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 26 Nov 2021, https://massolit.io/courses/the-sociology-of-religion/why-do-sociologists-study-religion

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