chapter  10
12 Pages

Thinking sociologically about religion: discerning and explaining pattern

ByGrace Davie

I am a baby-boomer: that is to say I was born immediately after the war, was educated at public expense and am now retiring with a final salary pension. I take none of this for granted but I am not altogether nostalgic for what is frequently termed a “golden age.” For a start, relatively few of my generation had the privilege of a university education and even fewer of these were women. In this sense things have most certainly improved.1 In my own case, the lack of opportunity for most women was largely offset by the encouragement of an academic family, the opportunity to travel at an early age, and a high-flying girls’ school where the bar was set unusually high, though in a limited range of subjects. Only later did I realize how exceptional all this was and the significance of both gender and generation for my career. The paragraphs that follow expand on this story and its implications for my engagement in the sociology of religion.