Sociology of Religion: Contemporary Developments / Edition 2

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Sociology of Religion charts changes in the sociology of religion without ignoring the continuing relevance of Weber, Durkheim, and Marx. Veteran sociologists Christiano, Swatos, and Kivisto address both the foundations and the profound changes in the field, placing new conceptions against their historical background. Charts, pictures, down-to-earth examples, and a readable style keep the history and new developments within the reach of undergraduates. Instructors who want to give their students a current and comprehensive overview of the field should take a look at Sociology of Religion: Contemporary Developments.

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Editorial Reviews

Teaching Sociology
Praise for Previous Edition:

This excellent book may well be the best text on the sociology of religion in print.

Andrew Dawson
Sociology of Religion offers great coverage of topics, in terms of both breadth and depth. The book offers up to date treatment, an accessible and engaging writing style, and a very good supporting bibliography.
David A. Yamane
Praise for the first edition:

I welcome the arrival of Sociology of Religion: Contemporary Developments. A new textbook in the sociology of religion is long overdue. This text covers all of the most important contemporary issues in the field, reminds us of some less appreciated topics (material culture, boundary issues), and brings in a host of novel historical materials as well. Undergraduates, graduate students, and faculty alike will find gems of insight into the place of religion in society throughout this textbook.

Helen Rose Ebaugh
Praise for the first edition:

Finally, a sociology of religion textbook that presents theories and data about contemporary religion, both in the U.S. and globally, in ways that will grip the imaginations and life experiences of students. . . . A long awaited textbook that combines cutting-edge theories with rich descriptions of contemporary changes in religion, both in the U.S. and globally. . . . A textbook that challenges students to use sociological theories to think about some of the cutting edge issues in religion today.

Penny Edgell
This book is well-conceived and will make an important contribution to the teaching of sociology of religion. It is timely and interesting, and is substantially different than other currently available texts on the sociology of religion. This book gives much more attention to ethnicity, social class, gender, and social change and I really like the chapter on the media and religion. I will definitely use this in my undergraduate classes.
John Bartkowski
I am very impressed with Sociology of Religion: Contemporary Developments. This volume provides a thorough treatment of sociological theories of religion and discusses an array of important conceptual issues in the field.
Andrew Dawson PhD
Sociology of Religion offers great coverage of topics, in terms of both breadth and depth. The book offers up to date treatment, an accessible and engaging writing style, and a very good supporting bibliography.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780742561113
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
  • Publication date: 5/29/2008
  • Edition description: Second Edition
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 388
  • Sales rank: 1,260,278
  • Product dimensions: 6.90 (w) x 9.90 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Kevin J. Christiano is associate professor of sociology at the University of Notre Dame. Over two decades he has published research on such subjects as religion and the family, church membership and labor activism, Roman Catholics among immigrants to the United States, and American denominations at the turn of the last century. William H. Swatos, Jr., is executive director of the Association for the Sociology of Religion and of the Religious Research Association. His concentrations include secularization, church-sect theory, religion and slave-master relations in the antebellum South, Icelandic spirituality, family and sexuality and social theory. He also holds a degree in theology and is an Episcopal priest. Bill is editor-in-chief of the Encyclopedia of Religion and Society (AltaMira Pres, 1998). Peter Kivisto is currently professor and chair of sociology at Augustana College, where he has taught for twenty years. Peter teaches courses in social theory, race and ethnicity, and crime, as well as introductory sociology and has written or edited texts in most of these areas.

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Table of Contents

Part I. The Basics
Chapter One: By Way of Introduction
The Definition Problem
Exploring the Dimensions of Religion
—Social Relationships
—Ethical Considerations
A Definitional Revision
The Plan of the Book
Suggestions for Further Reading
Chapter Two: Studying Religion
How Do We Study Religion
—Survey Research
—Participant Observation
—Historical Research
Theory in the Study of Religion
Functionalist Theories
—Conflict Theories
—A Paradigm Shift
—Rational Choice Theories
Sociologie Religeuse
Why Study Religion?
Implicit Religion
Suggestions for Further Reading
Chapter Three: The "Religion" of Secularization and the History of Religions
The “World” of Religion
The Arguments
The Critique
The "Religion" of Secularization
—Civil Religion
—Invisible Religion
The Myth of the Age of Faith
Suggestions for Further Reading

Chapter Four: Religion in the United States: Denominationalism and Beyond
Churches and Sects
—Weber's Sociology and Troeltsch's Ethics
—Elaboration, Reaction, and Revision
—Neo-Weberian Analyses
—Denominations Today
American Religious Renewal
Mainlines and Sidelines in the United States
Evangelicals and Fundamentalists: Alike and Different
Suggestions for Further Reading

Part II. Religion and Social Differentiation
Chapter Five: Social Class, Religion and Power: A Classic Field of Inquiry
Sociological Classics
—Marx: The Permanent Exile and Prophet
—Weber: Theodicy, Religious Ethics, and Social Class
Religion and the U.S. Class Structure
—U.S. Classes and Religion in the Industrial Age: 1870-1970
—The Class/Religion Nexus in a Postindustrial Society
Suggestions for Further Reading
Chapter Six: Religion and Ethnicity: A Complex Relationship
Clarifying Terms: Ethnic, Nationality, and Racial Groups
—Defining Ethnic Groups
—Nationality Groups and Territoriality
—The Specter of Race
Relational Patterns between Religion and Ethnicity
Ethnicity in the "Righteous Empire"
The Ethnic Factor in the Formative Period of U.S. Catholicism
The Jewish Diaspora
Herberg's Thesis and the Triple Melting Pot
The African-American Religious Experience
From Different Shores: The New Immigrants
—The New Ethnics as Protestants, Catholics, and Jews
—Beyond Protestant, Catholic, Jew
Suggestions for Further Reading

Chapter Seven: Gender, Sexuality, and Religion: Spirituality in Different Voices?
The Ordination Debate
Women in Clerical and Lay Roles
Culture Wars: Gender, Religion, and Family Values
—Abortion and the Politics of the Body
—Family Matters
—Gays, Lesbians, and Religion
Images of God and Gendered Spirituality
Suggestions for Further Reading

Part III. Religion, Culture, and Change
Chapter Eight: Religious Change: The Case of Catholicism in America
Church with a Capital C
Change: From Breeze to Tornado
Commitment: Loyalty, but Not Obedience
Devotion: A Collapse of Authority
Governance: Guiding the People of God
Leadership: Failures at the Top
Membership: Problems in the Pews
—African-American Catholics
—Hispanic Catholics
—Women in the Church
Personnel: People without Priests
Finances: Expanding Mission, Declining Resources
Suggestions for Further Reading

Chapter Nine: The Globalization Dynamic: Historic Animosities or Postmodern Politics?
Global Culture
Excursus on the History of Religions
Globalization and Fundamentalism
—The Religious Right in the United States
—Fundamentalism, Globalization, and American Civil Religion
Suggestions for Further Reading

Chapter Ten: Mediating Meaning: Religion in—and as—Contemporary Culture
Mass Faith: The Media of Religion
Religion in Material Culture: Faith in the Flesh
Religious Publishing: Words and The Word
"The Old-Time Religion": Broadcast Evangelism in America
—"In the Beginning..."
—The Message: "His Master's Voice"?
—The Messengers: The Return of Elmer Gantry?
—The Audience: Preaching to the Converted?
Cyber-faith: Religion on the Internet
Suggestions for Further Reading
Chapter Eleven: Boundary Issues: Church State and New Religions
Religious Novelty
Cult and Anticult: Social Science and Social Movements
Asceticism and Mysticism
The Attraction of the Margin
Illustrations of NRM Dynamics
—Satanism and Antisatanism
—Neopaganism: Of Gods and Goddesses
Suggestions for Further Reading


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