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.
Luigi Berzano is Professor of Sociology of Cultural Processes at the Political Science Faculty of the University of Turin. He is national coordinator of the Scientific Council of Religion Section of the Italian Association of Sociology. Since 1992, he is President of the Center for Studies on New Religions in Turin. His recent publications include: Sociology of Lifestyles, Roma: Carocci 2011 (with C. Genova); “Lifestyles and Religion”, in Annual Review of the Sociology of Religion, n.1, 2010, Brill; “Vocation as a personal choice”, in Giuseppe Giordan, (ed), Vocation and Social Context, Brill, Leiden • Boston, 2007; “Conversion as a New Lifestile: An Exploratory Study of Soka Gakkai in Italy” in Giuseppe. Giordan (ed), Conversion in the Age of Pluralism, Brill, Leiden • Boston, 2009; “Religious Lifestyles”, in Giuseppe Giordan, William H. Swatos (ed), Religion, Spirituality and Everyday Practice, London • New York, Springer, 2011.
Ole Riis is professor of sociology of religion at the Department of Religion, Philosophy and History, University of Agder, Norway. He participates in the Norwegian doctoral school on Religion, Values and Society, where he co-ordinates the regular course on philosophy for science and methodology. He has lectured on research design and methodoogy at several universities and doctoral courses. He has participated in several international research projects based on both qualitative and quantitative methods, such as the Nordic studies of religious changes sine 1938, the European Values Survey and Religious and Moral Pluralism. Beyond studies in sociology of religion, his publication includes several methodological contributions such as texbooks in demography, in applied methods of social research, mixed methods. Several publications have adressed methods for sociology of religion. One of his latest publications, A Sociology of Religious Emotion (w. Linda Woodhead, Oxford University Press 2010) includes an appendix about how the subject may be studied empirically. His most recent publications on methodology addresses criteria of quality in qualitative research. He is presently engaged in issues on epistemology and research design for complex, social problems.
Contributors include: Peter Achterberg, Nancy T. Ammerman, Luigi Berzano, Wiktor-Mach Dobroslawa, Carlo Genova, Paul Heelas, Dick Houtman, Tim Hutchings, Lois Lee, Alexander-Kenneth Nagel, Uzi Rebhun, Ole Riis, James V. Spickard, Christos N. Tsironis, and Roman R. Williams
Preface: New Methods in Sociology of Religion - Luigi Berzano and Ole Riis
Faith, Hope, and Regulative Ideals: Epistemological Reflexivity in the Sociology of Religion - James V. Spickard
Counting Spirituality? Survey Methodology after the Spiritual Turn - Dick Houtman, Paul Heelas and Peter Achterberg
Concept-Centric or Method-Centric Research? On Paradigm War in the Interdisciplinary Study of/ Research on Religion - Christos N. Tsironis
Research Methodology between Descriptive and Hermeneutic Interests - Luigi Berzano
Combining Quantitative and Qualitative Methods in the Sociology of Religion - Ole Riis
Speaking of Methods: Eliciting Religious Narratives through Interviews, Photos, and Oral Diaries - Nancy T. Ammerman and Roman R. Williams
Locating Nonreligion, in Mind, Body and Space: New Research Methods for a New Field - Lois Lee
Religion and the Digital Humanities: New Tools, Methods and Perspectives - Tim Hutchings
Measuring the Relational: How to Collect Data on Religious Networks - Alexander-Kenneth Nagel
Measuring Muslims: The Problems of Religiosity and Intra-Religious Diversity - Dobroslawa Wiktor-Mach
Methodology and Techniques in the Study of Religious Lifestyles - Carlo Genova
Facet Approach in the Sociology of Religion: Theories, Techniques, and Analysis of Religious Identification in the United States - Uzi Rebhun
List of Contributors
All those interested in methods and theory in the field of sociology of religion and religious studies.