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Annual Review of the Sociology of Religion

Volume 3: New Methods in the Sociology of Religion (2012)

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Edited by Luigi Berzano and Ole Riis

This volume points to methodological innovations in social research and their potential for social scientific studies of religion. Computerization has opened for both quantitative and qualitative systematic analyses of complex materials, and the epistemological discourse after Positivism has opened for reconsidering the foundation of empirical social research. Furthermore religion is changing, and sociology of religion therefore widens its scope by including non-institutional forms of religion. This refocusing calls for new methodological considerations. As the range of available methods expands, it becomes more pressing to consider whether and how methods can be combined, such as quantitative and qualitative methods. Studying religion as a complex social phenomenon calls for a variety of methods, but an integration of the empirical findings points back to the epistemological issue.

Religion on the Move!

New Dynamics of Religious Expansion in a Globalizing World

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Edited by Afe Adogame and Shobana Shankar

How do religions spread in today’s world, where Christian missions have lost influence and modern nations have replaced colonial empires? Religions on the Move is a collection of essays charting new religious expansions. Contemporary evangelists may be Nigerian, Korean, Brazilian or Congolese, working at the grassroots and outside the mainstream in Pentecostal, reformist Islamic, and Hindu spiritual currents. While transportation and media provide newfound mobility, the mission field may be next door, in Europe, North America, and within the “South,” where migrants from Africa, Asia, and Latin America settle. These essays, using perspectives from religious studies, ethnography, history and sociology, show that immigrants, women, and other disempowered peoples transmit their faiths from everywhere to everywhere, engaging in globalization from below.

Present-Day Spiritualities

Contrasts and Overlaps

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Edited by Elisabeth Hense, Frans P.M. Jespers and Peter J.A. Nissen

Many forms of present-day Western spirituality contribute to people’s well-being, whereas others have raised criticism. The study of these different forms is, however, complicated by their continuously diverging practices and ideas. By bringing to bear a multidisciplinary approach, the ten specialists of this volume are able to analyze diverse new instances of spirituality, e.g. in religious contexts (Buddhism, Christianity), popular use, organizations and enterprises, (alternative) health service, and works of art. Most contributions also discuss methods and theories. In their editorial chapters, Elisabeth Hense, Frans Jespers and Peter Nissen show the remarkable overlaps in the approaches, definitions and evaluations of the contributions in this volume and provide a theoretical framework. Both the fresh analyses and the theoretical reflections in this volume point the way to new approaches in this field of study.

Contributors include: Jerry Biberman, Mark Elliott, Miguel Farias, Johan Goud, Paul Heelas, Elisabeth Hense, Frans Jespers, Hubert Knoblauch, Peter Nissen, Paul van der Velde

Religious Identity and National Heritage

Empirical-Theological Perspectives

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Edited by Francis-Vincent Anthony

In some parts of our world, religion is on the wane, losing its thrust of doctrinal authority and communal bonds. In other regions, it is gaining public significance as a powerful social, cultural and political force. Secularization theories are less successful in accounting for these differences in religion’s role. Other theories describe religion in terms of social capital to be invested whenever it offers certain personal, social or political benefits and market opportunities allow smart choices. Still other theories simply hold that religion corresponds to an inborn need or stable disposition that guarantees a culture’s identity and reflects a natural equilibrium of social cohesion. There are also critical theories that point to the intrinsic relationship of religion with power and identify it as a major cause of tension and conflict. In this book distinguished scholars reflect on these questions and present empirical research about religious identity and national heritage.

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Edited by Gladys Ganiel, Heidemarie Winkel and Christophe Monnot

Religion is alive and well all over the world, especially in times of personal, political, and social crisis. Even in Europe, long regarded the most “secular” continent, religion has taken centre stage in how people respond to the crises associated with modernity, or how they interact with the nation-state. In this book, scholars working in and on Europe offer fresh perspectives on how religion provides answers to existential crisis, how crisis increases the salience of religious identities and cultural polarization, and how religion is contributing to changes in the modern world in Europe and beyond. Cases from Poland to Pakistan and from Ireland to Zimbabwe, among others, demonstrate the complexity and ambivalence of religion’s role in the contemporary world.

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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.

Religious Polemics in Context

Papers presented to the Second International Conference of the Leiden Institute for the Study of Religions (LISOR) held at Leiden, 27-28 April 2000  

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Edited by Theo Hettema and Christine Kooi

Studies in Theology and Religion,11

Polemics, as “the art or practice of disputation or controversy”, is a living issue in matters of religion, and is a major object of research for scholars in religious studies and theology. The second international conference of the Leiden Institute for the Study of Religions (LISOR), held at Leiden in April 2000, was devoted to the subject of Religious Polemics in Context, aiming at a further exploration of the notion of religious polemics, together with the unfolding of a wide variety of case-studies from various religious traditions. The volume contains most of the papers read at the conference, and offers contributions on general issues (e.g., by M. Dascal), as well as on particular topics in the fields of history of religion (e.g., Islam), ancient Israel and early Christianity, the history of Christianity, and the social sciences of religion. An annotated bibliography is added to this collection, which may stimulate a further study of the topic.

Indian Diaspora

Socio-Cultural and Religious Worlds

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Edited by Pratap Kumar

The chapters presented in this volume represent a wide variety of Indian diasporic experiences. From indenture labour to the present day immigrations, Indian diasporic narrative is one that offers opportunities to evaluate afresh notions of ethnicity, race, caste, gender and religious diversity. From victim discourse to narratives of optimism and complexities of identity issues, the Indian diaspora has exhibited characteristics that enable us as scholars to construct theoretical views on the diaspora and migration. The cases included in this volume will illumine such theoretical ideas. The readers will certainly be able to appreciate the diversity and the depth of these narratives and gain insight into the social and cultural and religious world of the diaspora.

Yours the Power

Faith-based Organizing in the USA

Edited by Katie Day, Esther McIntosh and William Storrar

Despite shifts in the religious landscape in North America--reflected in the significant increase in those with no religious affiliation and emptier pews across the religious spectrum--there has also been a rise in participation in faith-based grassroots organizations. People of faith are increasingly joining broad-based organizing efforts to seek social change in their communities, regions and country.

This unique volume brings together the most current thinking on faith-based organizing from the perspective of theologians, social researchers and practitioners. The current state of faith based organizing is critically presented, as it has evolved from its roots in the mid-twentieth century into a context which raises new questions for its philosophical assumptions, methodology, and very future.

Originally published as issue 4 of Volume 6 (2012) of Brill's International Journal of Public Theology.

Modernity and Terrorism

From Anti-Modernity to Modern Global Terror

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Milan Zafirovski and Daniel G. Rodeheaver

In Modernity and Terrorism: From Anti-Modernity to Modern Global Terror Milan Zafirovski and Daniel G. Rodeheaver analyze the nature, types, and causes of contemporary global terrorism. The book redefines modern terrorism in a novel more comprehensive manner compared to the previous literature. It examines counter-state and state terrorism, with an emphasis on the latter in light of its scale, persistence, and intensity as well as its relative neglect in the literature. The book identifies and predicts the general cause of most modern terrorism in anti-modernity as the adverse reaction to and reversal of liberal-democratic, secular, rationalistic, and globalized, modernity. In essence, it discovers and predicts anti-liberalism in the form of conservatism as the main source and force of modern terrorism.