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The Sociology of Religion
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The Sociology of Religion
A Critical Agenda

Second Edition


© 2013 | 328 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd
Why is religion still important? Can we be fully modern and fully religious?

In this new edition, Davie follows up her discussion of the meaning of religion in modern society and considers how best to research and understand this relationship. Exploring the rapid movements within the sociology of religion today, this revised and updated book:

• Describes the origins of the sociology of religion

• Demystifies secularization as a process and a theory

• Relates religion to modern social theory

• Unpacks the meaning of religion in relation to modernity and globalization

• Grasps the methodological challenges in the field

• Provides a comparative perspective for religions in the west

• Introduces questions of minorities and margins

• Sets out a critical agenda for debate and research

The Sociology of Religion has already proved itself as one of the most important titles within the field; this edition will ensure that it remains an indispensable resource for students and researchers alike.

Preface to the Second Edition  
Preface to the First Edition  
 
Introduction: A Critical Agenda
 
PART ONE: THEORETICAL PERSPECTIVES
 
Common Sources/Different Pathways
 
Secularization: Process and Theory
 
Rational Choice Theory
 
Modernity: A Single or Plural Construct?
 
Methodological Challenges
 
PART TWO: SUBSTANTIVE ISSUES
 
Mainstream Religions in the Western World
 
Minorities and Margins
 
Demanding Attention: Fundamentalisms in the Modern World
 
Globalization and the Study of Religion
 
Religion and the Everyday
 
Conclusion: Revisiting the Agenda

This new, updated edition offers a reliable introduction to the main ways in which sociology has illuminated religion and religious change. But more than that, it raises profound questions about how religion, and its refusal to die, challenges sociology - a discipline founded on belief in the inevitability of secularisation
Linda Woodhead
Professor of Sociology of Religion, Lancaster University


Grace Davie's timely second edition of Sociology of Religion underlines that religion is no longer simply located within the private sphere and is rising in the public agenda. It might be a return of religion. It might also be that religion never left and that there is now a shift in perception that religion is more present in our life. This prompts a need for many disciplines to develop new tools for understanding this new process and/or shift in perception. Grace Davie's first edition of Sociology of Religion was already a more than a welcome contribution as it provided sociologists and non-sociologists with one of the best books on the topic. This second edition keeps up with the fast and evolving field of religion and provides the most up-to-date findings and theories in the sociology of religion. Needless to say, it is a must read for anyone interested in this field.
Adam Possami
Associate Professor in Sociology, University of Western Sydney, Australia


Grace Davie is one of the best analysts of religion in contemporary sociology. The second edition of this title caps a distinguished record of studies of religion - first of Britain, then of Europe, then globally. This is a magisterial work, which should be read by anyone interested in the place of religion in the modern world
Peter L. Berger
Boston University, USA


"The Sociology of Religion. A Critical Agenda" is perfect for classroom use. Next to offering a well organized, competent and cutting edge overview on the challenges faced by the sociology of religion in our time, it teaches students how to think sociologically. Davie's insightful and imaginative account triggers new perspectives and research questions with regard to the global presence of religion. A wonderful, multi-layered resource for teaching!
Birgit Meyer
Professor of Religious Studies, Utrecht University


Grace Davie's The Sociology of Religion is a highly valuable textbook for students on under graduate as well as graduate levels. It combines a critical reflection on the issues and debates that have shaped the field and a challenging agenda outlining some of the most crucial theoretical and empirical issues for the future. This way it equips students to both explore new tendencies and trends of religion in contemporary society and to be attentive to the significance of history and context for analysing.
Mia Lövheim
Professor of Sociology of Religion, Faculty of Theology, Uppsala University, Sweden


The book aptly captures the current debates and essence of the sociology of religion. It is a conceptually, empirically and theoretically grounded text.

Dr Emeka Dumbili
Sociology, Nnamdi Azikiwe University
April 26, 2017

Gives a concise understandable view of the field of study.

Dr Charles Thomas
Persons, Society, Culture, Interdenom Theological Center
January 13, 2015

Very interesting book written by a well-known sociologist of religion. The book discusses the principal anthropological/sociological theories and concepts. It is essential for undergraduate, master and PhD students and research projects on this field.

Professor Donizete Rodrigues
Department of Sociology, University Beira Interior
August 12, 2014

I highly recommend this book for its critical analysis of religion, the methodological challenges it addresses in the sociological study of religion, the theoretical and changing perspectives of religion and its focus on religion and the everyday.

Dr Sonya Sharma
Criminology and Sociology, Kingston University
March 26, 2014

Good overview of religion outside of U.S. context.

Professor Lori Fazzino
Sociology Dept, University of Nevada - Las Vegas
November 18, 2013

Excellent introductory text for beginners to the sociology of religion.

Ms Jessica Marshall
Department of Education and Social Science, University of Central Lancashire
August 16, 2013

Excellent book on the area of Religion and Sociology!

Nigel Downes
Faculty of Health, Sport and Science, Glamorgan University
February 14, 2013

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