Doing Multidisciplinary Research on Religion

Methodological, Conceptual and Theoretical Challenges


Religion is increasingly visible in the contemporary world as a complex phenomenon – requiring multidisciplinary research to do justice to the complexity. Multidisciplinary research is however, though lauded by many, notoriously difficult to bring to fruition.

This volume takes on the challenge to bridge the gap. Contributions formulate the challenges many have faced, but few yet analysed and put into the hands of researchers concrete tools with which to set about designing and executing multidisciplinary research on religions, beliefs and religious behaviour. In an era where research funding increasingly expects interdisciplinary collaboration it provides guidance on constructive pathways and pitfalls to avoid.

Contributors are: Riho Altnurme, Anders Bäckström, Lori G. Beaman, Karin Borevi, Leon van den Broeke, Valerie DeMarinis, Victoria Enkvist, Jonny Långstedt, Annette Leis-Peters, Anna-Sara Lind, Martha Middlemiss Lé Mon, Cecilia Nahnfeldt, Per-Erik Nilsson, Peter Nynäs, Margit Warburg, and Anne-Laure Zwilling.

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Martha Middlemiss Lé Mon, PhD Theology (b 1978), Uppsala University, is director of the Centre for Multidisciplinary Research on Religion and Society (CRS) at that university. Her research focuses on religion and welfare in contemporary Europe including an interest in issues of gender, civil society and values.
Anna-Sara Lind, LL.D. (b 1977), Uppsala University, is Professor of Public Law at that university. Her research focuses on public law, EU law and fundamental rights and on how EU law and international law interacts in the fields of welfare state law in a complex constitutional reality.
List of Figures

Part I. Introduction
1. Introducing the book and its contributions

Martha Middlemiss Lé Mon & Anna-Sara Lind

Part II. How to gather knowledge– multidisciplinarity in theory and practice
2. Organising across disciplinary boundaries – experiences of challenges and success factors
Anders Bäckström
3. Complex accounts. Reflexions on defining and measuring religious belonging
Anne-Laure Zwilling
4. Layers of Misunderstandings? Considerations about the Benefits and Challenges of Writing an Interdisciplinary Article
Karin Borevi, Annette Leis-Peters & Anna-Sara Lind
5. Same questions different answers. Experiences from multidisciplinary work in Law and Sociology of Religion
Victoria Enkvist & Per-Erik Nilsson

Part III. Who defines the frames of multidisciplinary research? - Research ethical dilemmas and expectations
6. Historical perspectives for the study of religion
Riho Altnurme
7. Pros and Cons in Multidisciplinary Research on Religion
Margit Warburg
8. Observations on the international character of research: a reflective approach to management
Peter Nynäs & Jonny Långstedt
9. Curiosity or Career and Finance Driven? Motivating Factors and Stumbling Blocks in the Pursuit of a Long Term and Multidisciplinary Educational and Research Agenda
Leon van der Broeke

Part IV. Traditional and transformative research paradigms – concluding remarks
10. From multidisciplinarity to transdisciplinarity and back again...
Martha Middlemiss Lé Mon & Cecilia Nahnfeldt
11. Current research methodological challenges and opportunities related to public mental health promotion and existential meaning- an emerging framework
Valerie De Marinis
12. Religion and Diversity: Multidisciplinarity, Transdisciplinarity and Complex Futures
Lori G. Beaman
The book is aimed primarily at researchers and postgraduate students within an international scholarly readership as well as academic libraries catering to researchers. It should be of interest to scholars from a wide variety of disciplines who in their work touch on religion, theology and worldviews studies.
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