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  • All: "methodology" x
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  • Sociology of Religion x

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Edited by Jason N. Blum

The traditions and institutions that we call religions abound with references to the supernatural: ancestral spirits, karma, the afterlife, miracles, revelation, deities, etc. How are students of religion to approach the behaviors, doctrines, and beliefs that refer to such phenomena, which by their very nature are supposed to defy the methods of empirical research and the theories of historical scholarship? That is the question of methodological naturalism. The Question of Methodological Naturalism offers ten thoughtful engagements with that perennial question for the academic study of religion. Contributors include established senior scholars and newer voices propounding a range of perspectives, resulting in both surprising points of convergence and irreconcilable differences in how our shared discipline should be conceptualized and practiced.

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Edited by Carole Cusack and Alex Norman

The cultural products of new religions and spiritualities are frequently ignored or dismissed within academia, often stemming from a hesitation to acknowledge these movements as genuine. This volume explores the impact of new religions upon cultural production, exemplifying the theological and spiritual principles of particular movements and demonstrating their substantial impact on wider society. Contributions explore the realms of music, architecture, food, art, books, films, video games, and more. This scholarship will be of interest to those who wish to explore the gamut of modern religious expression, and those who wish to broaden their knowledge of the spiritual origins of human culture.

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Edited by Lene Kühle, Jørn Borup and William Hoverd

Drawing on international and thematic case studies, The Critical Analysis of Religious Diversity asks its readers to pay attention to the assumptions and processes by which scholars, religious practitioners and states construct religious diversity. The study has three foci: theoretical and methodological issues; religious diversity in non-Western contexts; and religious diversity in social contexts. Together, these trans-contextual studies are utilised to develop a critical analysis exploring how agency, power and language construct understandings of religious diversity. As a result, the book argues that reflexive scholarship needs to consider that the dynamics of diversification and homogenisation are fundamental to understanding social and religious life, that religious diversity is a Western concept, and that definitions of ‘religious diversity’ are often entangled by and within dynamic empirical realities.

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Edited by Brian Grim, Todd M. Johnson, Vegard Skirbekk and Gina Zurlo

The Yearbook of International Religious Demography presents an annual snapshot of the state of religious statistics around the world. Every year large amounts of data are collected through censuses, surveys, polls, religious communities, scholars, and a host of other sources. These data are collated and analyzed by research centers and scholars around the world. Large amounts of data appear in analyzed form in the World Religion Database (Brill), aiming at a researcher’s audience. The Yearbook presents data in sets of tables and scholarly articles spanning social science, demography, history, and geography. Each issue offers findings, sources, methods, and implications surrounding international religious demography. Each year an assessment is made of new data made available since the previous issue of the yearbook.

Contributors are: Todd Johnson, Gina Zurlo, Peter Crossing, Juan Cruz Esquivel, Fortunato Mallimaci, Annalisa Butticci, Brian Grim, Philip Connor, Ken Chitwood, Vegard Skirbekk, Marcin Stonawski, Rodrigo Franklin de Sousa, Davis Brown, Juan Carlos Esparza Ochoa, and Maria Concepción Servín Nieto.

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Edited by Aaron W. Hughes

Theory and Method are two words that cause considerable consternation in the academic study of religion. Although everyone claims to be aware of and to engage them, the fact of the matter is that they remain poorly understood. Some see the terms as irritants that get in the way of data interpretation and translation. Others may invoke them sporadically to appear in vogue but then return quickly and myopically to their material and with little concern for the larger issues that such terms raise. To contribute to these debates, the present volume reproduces select articles from Method and Theory in the Study of Religion (MTSR) from the first 25 volumes of the journal, and allows a group of younger scholars to introduce and review them, asking if the issues raised are still relevant to the field.

Read the Inaugural Editorial now, please click here.

The Concept of Religion

Defining and Measuring Contemporary Beliefs and Practices

Edited by Hans Schilderman

In The Concept of Religion Hans Schilderman edits a volume on the definition and empirical study of religion within the changing landscape of modern society. Now that we can no longer assume a simple harmony between the scientific concept of religion, church doctrine and practiced belief, issues concerning the definition and measurement of religion are becoming crucial issues to academic institutions. The contributing authors present empirical studies studying issues of lifespan and socialisation at school settings; of vocation and profession at church and hospital settings; and culture and nation of society at large. The volume offers a beautiful sample of the empirical study of religion; a conceptual and illustrative overview of the academic field for students and scholars in religion.

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Anthony D'Andrea

Reflexive Religion: The New Age in Brazil and Beyond examines the rise of alternative spiritualities in contemporary Brazil. Masterfully combining late modern theory with multi-site ethnographies of the New Age, it explains how traditional religion is being transformed by processes of reflexivity, globalization and individualism. The book unveils how the New Age has entered Brazil, was adapted to local Catholic, Spiritist and psychology cultures, and more recently how the Brazilian Nova Era re-enters transnational circuits of spiritual practice. It closely examines Paulo Coelho (spiritualist novels), Projectiology (astral projection) and Santo Daime (neo-shamanism) to understand the broader “new agerization” of Christianity and Spiritualism. Reflexive Religion offers a compelling account of how the religious field is being updated under late modern conditions.