Since the sociology of religion became recognised as a distinct sub-discipline over the last century, the dominance of approaches taking their inspiration from the sociological classics has increasingly been challenged. Empirical findings have brought the notion of secularisation into question; and theorists have sought to deconstruct how we think of ‘religion.’ This collection appraises the continuing influence of the foundational approaches and places these in relation to newly emerging directions in the field.

The book is divided into four sections, each section containing one ‘foundational’ chapter written by an established academic followed by two ‘futures’ chapters contributed by emerging scholars in the sub-discipline. These chapters complement one another by placing the overview of future directions in the context of a survey of the development of the sociology of religion over the last century. Topics discussed in these chapters include lived religion, sexuality, ritual, religion and the media.

Combining erudite examinations of the British Sociological Association Sociology of Religion Study Group’s work so far with explorations of the future directions its research might take, this book is vital reading for any scholar whose work combines religious studies and sociology.

chapter |9 pages


Foundations and futures
ByLuke Doggett, Alp Arat

part I|42 pages

Marking the territory

chapter 1|14 pages

Sociological approaches to religion in Britain

ByGrace Davie

chapter 2|12 pages


In defence of a fashionable theory
ByAlp Arat

chapter 3|14 pages

Media and religion

Bridging ‘incompatible agendas’
ByMia Lövheim

part II|46 pages

Institutions and agency

chapter 4|13 pages


With added agency
ByLinda Woodhead

chapter 5|15 pages

Secularisation and de-institutionalised religion

Future directions
ByGladys Ganiel

chapter 6|16 pages

Lived religion and sexuality

Future directions
BySarah-Jane Page

part III|50 pages

Embodied and material religion

chapter 7|14 pages

On things seen and unseen

Enlarging the vision in sociology of religion
ByNancy T. Ammerman

chapter 8|18 pages

Futures in fashion

Modest fashion practices and influence
ByReina Lewis

chapter 9|16 pages

‘So that you’ve got something for yourself’

Knitting as implicit spirituality
ByAnna Fisk

part IV|66 pages

Religious dimensions of social life

chapter 10|14 pages

Researching the religious dimensions of social life

The sacred and the social uses of moral meaning in contemporary society
ByGordon Lynch

chapter 11|17 pages

Embodying the sacred

Understanding responses to human trafficking
ByAmy M. Russell

chapter 12|13 pages

Sacralised conflict and ordinary ethics

Palestine-Israel in British universities
ByRuth Sheldon

chapter |20 pages


Challenges facing the sociology of religion: The past and the future are not what they used to be
ByJames A. Beckford