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This special section of Research in the Social Scientific Study of Religion explores religious or belief identities on university campuses in different parts of the world. It examines the diversity of ways in which religious or belief identities are experienced, encountered and catered for on higher education campuses. The ten papers that follow interrogate how these identities are ‘lived’ on campus and how these are dealt with in university policy, practice, management and curricula. ‘Violence’, ‘Minoritisation’ and ‘intersectionality’ are useful theories to make sense of the common threads and disconnections across the different Higher Education contexts that feature in this special section and their geographies, politics and religion or belief identities.

In: Research in the Social Scientific Study of Religion, Volume 32

According to foundational Islamic texts, motherhood is a key aspect of women’s diverse social roles; however some Muslim religious commentaries position motherhood as the only aspect of women’s contributions to society. The everyday mothering experiences of Muslim women remain absent from these discussions. This anthropological article will examine Muslim women’s narratives of motherhood and mothering in contemporary Britain. In my research, Muslim women in Britain chose motherhood, firstly, as one of the many fronts on which to challenge patriarchy that is evident in some Muslim texts and to thus ‘reclaim their faith’ as articulated in foundational Islamic texts. Secondly, in their mothering experiences, Muslim women found a space of commonality that they shared with other women – motherhood was something these Muslim women believed they shared with their ‘sisters’ who were from backgrounds different to their own. Within their diverse and multifaceted struggles, Muslim women thus identified a space which they share with other women.

Open Access
In: Religion and Gender


This article examines existing literature and data from qualitative fieldwork with Muslim women in Britain to analyse their narratives of human rights and freedom, as they live within plural European contexts. In scared, securitised and polarised Europe, Muslim women have become visible markers of otherness. Each Muslim woman becomes a fulcrum upon which Western values and morality are measured against the “other”, its values, its beliefs and its choices. In exploring the implications of societal othering on Muslim women’s experiences of their human rights, this article concludes that in social contexts that are polemical, becoming the other dehumanises Muslim women who thus become ineligible for “human” rights. In such contexts, a human rights-based approach alone is insufficient to achieve “dignity and fairness” in society. In addition to human rights, societies need robust and rigorous dialogue so that societal differences become part of a new mediated plural reality.

In: Religion & Human Rights


In the struggle for equality and rights for women, feminist scholarship developed methodological frameworks that can be used to challenge the marginality of any ‘othered’ group in society, who may be marginalised on account of ethnicity, gender, sexuality, religion, or age. Whereas early feminism was critiqued as being a White, Western, middle class movement, it evolved (and continues to evolve) into a philosophical paradigm that is inclusive of the diverse ways of being a woman and of the diverse ways of being human. Feminist research approaches encapsulate a diversity of ways of doing research that challenge accepted intellectual norms, disciplinary silos and often encapsulate activism within research. These methods are usually reflective and participatory. In this special section we explore how a multiplicity of feminist approaches are applied within the sociology of religion. Through a diverse clutch of papers, we explore new frontiers that are being opened within the sociology of religion as a result of feminist methodological approaches and intellectual postionings.

In: Research in the Social Scientific Study of Religion, Volume 31

This Editors’ Introduction to the special issue on ‘Motherhood, Religions and Spirituality’ serves to explain the rationale, research questions and context for this interdisciplinary collection. As such, it engages with Kawash’s call for more scholarly work on the intersections between mothering and religious beliefs, practices and experiences. It goes on to situate the contributions into feminist work and methodologies and to show how they focus on the voices and agency of mothers (and non-mothers), before introducing and contextualising the individual contributions. The Introduction concludes by discussing further studies that could build on the work of this collection.

Open Access
In: Religion and Gender
Research in the Social Scientific Study of Religion is an interdisciplinary, international, peer-viewed, annual series, which publishes new and innovative research within the social scientific study of religion or belief. Contributions span a range of theoretical orientations, geographic contexts and research methods, though most articles are reports of original quantitative or qualitative research related mainly to the sociology and/or psychology of religion.

Volumes in the series usually include a guest-edited special section that allows networks of researchers to report studies in areas that are of current interest or which are innovative and expanding the discipline into new areas.

Submitting Proposals: We welcome proposals from academics at all levels of their career, including early career researchers and final year PhD students. Please submit a title and abstract of no more than 300 words together with names and short biographies (150 words), institutional affiliation/s (if relevant), and contact details.

Manuscripts for both the main and special sections should be sent to the editors, Ralph Hood and Sariya Cheruvallil-Contractor. For more information and submission guidelines please see the Call for Papers under Downloads on this webpage, or contact the editors.

The series has published an average of one volume per year over the last 5 years.
The present volume brings together scholars from all over the world in an open section and three special sections that explore how lesser-heard and unheard voices may be studied. Special section 1, Religion in Higher Education interrogates lived experiences of religion in higher education contexts and how certain voices are marginalised and minoritised. Special section 2, Cultural Blindness in Psychology, explores how culture as a lived experience, especially in its religious dimension, is rendered invisible in psychological science. Finally, special section 3 entitled Religious Authority in Practice in Contemporary Evangelical, Charismatic, and Pentecostal Christianity outlines “evangelicalism” and introduces “authority” as a sociological concept from various theoretical perspectives.
Research in the Social Scientific Study of Religion, Volume 31: A Diversity of Paradigms showcases two approaches to the socio-scientific study of religion. It includes a special section within which authors draw on data collected about congregational life in the Australian National Church Life Surveys (from 1991 to present). These studies give voice to minority groups and children. While findings include the strengths of ethnic diversity and the positive experiences of young churchgoers, they also highlight that full inclusion in local church life is far from being realized. A second section explores the application of feminist approaches within the sociology of religion. In their struggle for equality for women, feminist scholars developed methodologies to challenge the marginality of any ‘othered’ group. This section showcases how use of these methods challenges hierarchies within knowledge.
The 30th volume of Research in the Social Scientific Study of Religion consists of two special sections, as well as two separate empirical studies on attachment and daily spiritual practices. The first special section deals with the social scientific study of religion in Indonesia. Indonesia is a predominantly Muslim country whose history and contemporary involvement in the study of religion is explored from both sociological and psychological perspectives. The second special section is on the Pope Francis effect: the challenges of modernization in the Catholic church and the global impact of Pope Francis. While its focus is mainly on the Catholic religion, the internal dynamics and geopolitics explored apply more broadly.


This RSSSR Special Section focuses on children’s perspectives on religion, ethnicity and identity. It seeks to depart from adult-led understandings of religious identity that are more keenly determined by theology, texts, or beliefs. This co-edited special section includes artcles and research explorations that listen to children’s notions of faith, ethnicity, and identity. By bringing together academics working in diverse fields to understand how children perceive, understand and ‘do’ faith, this special section will initiate a paradigm shift in understandings of religious and indeed non-religious belief. It starts with an exploration of our own work, which focused on everyday religion rather theological understanding, recognising how children’s religious identities will be as much informed by negotiations of cultural and social practices as by official doctrine.

In: Research in the Social Scientific Study of Religion, Volume 33