In this edited volume, Véronique Altglas and Matthew Wood take aim at what they call a “religious sociology” – that is, a sociology of religion which is sympathetic not only with various manifestations of religiosity but is indeed funded by, aligned with and does research in support of institutional religion. They place a “critical sociology of religion” into opposition to it – one which in their conception is “highly reflexive” and breaks with the normative evaluations of religious traditions by being not only social scientific but secular. Indeed, in “bringing the social back in,” they attempt to make the sociology of religion more sociological, a position from which the contemporary subfield has gone astray from its classical foundations. The essays in this book fan out in this direction, critically approaching the religious groups who they study and using frames such as Margaret Archer’s critical realism and Pierre Bourdieu’s cultural sociology to analyze them.
Warren S. Goldstein, Ph.D.
Center for Critical Research on Religion