chapter  5
16 Pages

Discrete Constellations, Occluded Foundations and Implicit Contestations in the Sociology of Religion

WithDavid Martin

Academic hybrids risk dismissal as ill-disciplined and without a recognized disciplinary home, especially those who cross the border between sociology and theology. The contestations at that border tell us too much about both sociology and theology to be ventured upon without counting the professional cost. In the case of Grace Davie she has taken on major institutional roles and performed them with exemplary efficiency, as President of the American Association of the Sociology of Religion. Sociology is particularly prone to persistent potting by way of summary articles, because it values novelty and easy access. Few people now recollect the role of Talcott Parsons in establishing the foundations of the contemporary sociology of religion, though Peter Beyer is an exception. Sociology is, of course, incurably taxonomic and wordy. France was way ahead of Britain with regard to the development of the sociology of religion, and what was originally a confessional interest in sociologie religieuse.