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Module Reading List

Sociology of Religion, 2021/22, Semester 2
Dr Ben Wood
Tutor information is taken from the Module Catalogue

Week One 

Hamilton, M. (2001) 'Introduction' in The Sociology of Religion: Theoretical and Comparative Perspectives. London: Routledge   

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Week Two

Emile Durkheim, The Elementary Forms of Religious Life, [Chapter 1]: Available Online

‘There’s a Specific Kind of Joy We’ve Been Missing’, New York Times, (July 10, 2021): 

W.E.B. Du Bois (1903) The Souls of Black Folk (chapter x)   

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Week Three

Mary Douglas, Purity and Danger, (London: Routledge, (Chapter 6): Available Online via the Library (see catalogue)

Our treatment of HIV has advanced. Why hasn't the stigma changed? | Arik Hartmann:  

Optional reading: Fiona Bowie, ‘Chapter 2. Body as Symbol’, in The Anthropology of Religion: An Introduction, (Oxford: Blackwell Publishing, 2000), pp. 34-61 (This has been digitised is available via the library)  Available as an Online Course Reading in Minerva 

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Week Four

Anna Isaksson, ‘Classical Sociology Through the Lens of Gendered Experiences’ in Sociol., 19 October 2020 |

Max Weber, ‘Science as Vocation’,

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Week Five

Essay Writing Week (Taks in handbook)

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Week Six

Peter Berger, ‘Chapter 5 ‘The Process of Secularisation’ in The Sacred Canopy: Elements of a Sociological Theory of Religion, (New York: Anchor, 1990) [Available Online through the Library]

Aike P. Rots, ‘Public Shrine Forests? Shinto, Immanence, and Discursive Secularization’, Japan Review , 2017, No. 30, Formations of the Secular in Japan (2017), pp. 179-205 (Available online through the library)

Optional Resources

Video: Japan: Where Gods Aren't Gods and Worshipers Aren't Religious (Shinto Explained):

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Week Seven

Farah Godre, ‘Secularism in India: A “Gandhian” Approach’’, in Multiculturalism in the British Commonwealth: Comparative Perspectives on Theory and Practice, ed. Richard T. Ashcroft & Mark Bevir,

‘Sharp rise in attacks on India's Christian minority’, (Video: France 24):  

‘Why India's Mix of Nationalism and Religion Can Be Deadly’ (Bloomberg Quicktake Video):  

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Week Eight

Paul Heelas, Linda Woodhead, et al, ‘Chapter Four: Bringing the Sacred to Life: Explaining Sacralization and Secularization’, in The Spiritual Revolution: Why Religion is Giving Way to Spirituality, (Oxford: Blackwell Publishing, 2005), pp. 77-118  Available as an Online Course Reading in Minerva 

Natalie Mathews (2021): ‘Sabrina as a sanction: teenaged witches and the perceived inauthenticity of youth’, Journal of Youth Studies: (Available Online through the Library)  

Optional Reading

Steve Bruce, "New Religions and the New Age", Religion in Modern Britain, (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1995), pp. 95-122   Available as an Online Course Reading in Minerva 

Christopher H. Partridge (1999) Truth, authority and epistemological individualism in new age thought, Journal of Contemporary Religion, 14:1, 77-95 (Accessible online through the Library)

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Week Nine

Colonialism, Ethnicity, and the Construction of Religion

Seminar Readings

Malory Nye, (2019) “Decolonizing the Study of Religion”, Open Library of Humanities 5(1), p.43. doi: (Available Online)

Suzanne Owen. ‘The World Religions paradigm Time for a change’, Arts and Humanities in Higher Education, Vol 10, Issue 3, 2011, July 8, 2011: [Available through the Library]

The World Religions Paradigm: An RSP Remix: (The Religious Studies Podcast)

Grace Davie, '8: Minorities and Margins', The Sociology of Religion: A Critical Agenda, Second edition. (London: Sage, 2013), pp. 161-184   OCR REQUESTED BY LIBRARY (MH 14/01/2022) 

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Week Ten

Grace Davie, ’Chapter 11. Religion and the Everyday’, The Sociology of Religion: A Critical Agenda, pp. 230-249  Available as an Online Course Reading in Minerva 

Robert Bellah, ‘Civil Religion in America’, Dædalus, Journal of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, from the issue entitled, "Religion in America," Winter 1967, Vol. 96, No. 1, pp. 1-21:

Andrew M. Henry, ‘Americans Are Religious About America’, (ReligionForBreak Video)

Obama Inauguration Speech, 2009: (Video)

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Week Eleven

‘Measuring Belief’ (OUP Blog): 

Linda Woodhead, “Old, New, and Emerging Paradigms in the Sociological Study of Religion”, Nordic Journal of Religion and Society, 22(2), 103-121, 2009

‘Decolonizing the Study of Religion’, (The Religious Studies Podcast)

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Introduction to Sociology of Religion texts/general texts and chapters

(Make sure you have accessed at least one of these – several are edited collections that contain articles that will help with lecture, seminar and assessment preparation, and may also help give an overview of the topics we are considering).

Aldridge, A (2013) Religion in the contemporary world : a sociological introduction (3rd Edition). Cambridge: Polity.

Beckford, J. (2003) Social theory and religion. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Clarke, P.B. (2011) The Oxford handbook of the sociology of religion. Oxford: OUP

Davie, G. (2013) The sociology of religion : a critical agenda. (2nd Edition), London: SAGE.

Singleton, A. (2014) Religion, culture and society : a global approach. London: SAGE.

Giddens, A. & Sutton, P. (2013) ‘Religion’, Sociology, (7th ed), London: Polity, pp. 716–728.   

Hamilton, M. B. (1995) The sociology of religion : theoretical and comparative perspectives. London: Routledge.  (just the introduction please)  

Riesebrodt, M and Konieczny, ME (2005) ‘Sociology of Religion’ In J.R.Hinnells (ed.) The Routledge Companion to the Study of Religion. London: Routledge.

Turner, B.S. (ed.) (2010) The new Blackwell companion to the sociology of religion. London: Blackwell.

Turner, B. S. (1991 second edition). Religion and Social Theory. London: Sage.

Bender et al (2013)  Religion on the edge : de-centering and re-centering the sociology of religion.Oxford: OUP

McKinnon, A and Trzebiatowska, M (eds) (2014) Sociological theory and the question of religion. Ashgate: Oxon. 

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Classical Sociology/Sociology of Religion

Alexander, J. C. (1988). Durkheimian sociology : cultural studies. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Alexander, J.C. and Smith, P. (eds.) (2005) The Cambridge Companion to Durkheim. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Allen, N. J., Pickering, W. S. F. and Watts Miller, W. (1998). On Durkheim's Elementary forms of religious life. London: Routledge.

Barbalet, J.M. (2008) Weber, Passion and Profits: 'The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism' in Context, Cambridge: CUP.

Boer, R. (2011), ‘Opium, Idols and Revolution: Marx and Engels on Religion’, Religion Compass, 5 (11): 698-707.

Budd, S. (1973). Sociologists and religion. London: Collier-MacMillan.

Camic, C. (ed.) (1997). Reclaiming the sociological classics : the state of the scholarship. Oxford: Blackwell.

Campbell, C. (1987). The romantic ethic and the spirit of modern consumerism, Oxford: Blackwell.

Chalcroft, D.J. (ed.) (2001) The Protestant ethic debate : Max Weber's replies to his critics, 1907-1910. Liverpool: Liverpool University Press.

Durkheim, É. (1951 [1897]). Suicide. London: Routledge.

Durkheim, É. (1995 [1912]). The elementary forms of religious life, (Trans.) K. E. Fields. New York: Free Press.

Durkheim, É. (1973 [1914]). 'The dualism of human nature and its social conditions',in R. N. Bellah (ed.), Emile Durkheim On morality and society : selected writings. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Durkheim, É. (1984 [1893]). The division of labour in society. London: Macmillan.

Fish, J.S. (2005). Defending the Durkheimian tradition : religion, emotion, and morality. Aldershot: Ashgate Publishing.

Frisby, D. (2002) Georg Simmel. London: Routledge.

Gane, M. (1988). On Durkheim's rules of sociological method. London: Routledge.

Gane, M., (1983a), ‘Durkheim: the sacred language’, Economy and society., 12 (1): 1–47.

Gane, M., (1983b), ‘Durkheim: woman as outsider’, Economy and society., 12 (2): 227–270.

Gill, R. (1987). Theology and sociology : a reader. London: Geoffrey Chapman.

Holmwood, J. (1996) Founding sociology? : Talcott Parsons and the idea of general theory. London: Longman.

Idinopulos, T.A. and Wilson, B.C. (eds.) Reappraising Durkheim for the study and teaching of religion today. Leiden: Brill.

Joas, H (2001). ‘The Gift of Life: The Sociology of Religion in Talcott Parsons’ Late Work’, Journal of classical sociology., 1: 127-141.

Jones, R.A. (1999). The development of Durkheim's social realism. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Lehmann, H. and Roth, G. (eds.) (1993) Weber's "Protestant ethic" : origins, evidence, contexts. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Lindholm, C. (1993) Charisma. London: Wiley-Blackwell.

Lukes, S. (1973) Emile Durkheim: His Life and Work. London: Penguin.

Marshall, G. (1982) In search of the spirit of capitalism : an essay on Max Weber's Protestant ethic thesis. London: Hutchinson.

Mellor, P. A. (1998). 'Sacred Contagion and Social Vitality: Collective Effervescence in Les Formes élémentaires de la vie religieuse', Durkheimian Studies/Etudes Durkheimiennes, Vol. 4. OCR REQUESTED BY LIBRARY (SRJ 22/08/2017) 

Mellor, P.A. ‘(2006) Religion as an Elementary Aspect of Society: Durkheim’s Legacy for Social Theory, in J.A, Beckford and J. Wallis (eds.), Theorising religion : classical and contemporary debates. London: Ashgate.

Mellor, P.A. (2009) ‘Durkheim’, in G. Oppy and N. Trakakis (eds.) The history of western philosophy of religion: Acumen Publishing.

Meštrović, S. J. (1997). Postemotional society. London: Sage.

Morris, B. (1987). Anthropological studies of religion : an introductory text. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Nisbet, R. (1995 [1966]). The Sociological Tradition. New Brunswick: Transaction.

Parsons, T. (1968 [1937]) The Structure of Social Action. New York: Free Press.

Parsons, T. (1968 [1937]) The Social System. London: Routledge.

Parsons, T., (1978), Action theory and the human condition, New York: Free Press.

Peacock, J. L. and Tyson Jr, R. W. (1989). Pilgrims of paradox : Calvinism and experience among the Primitive Baptists of the Blue Ridge. Washington,D.C. Smithsonian Press.

Pickering, W.S.F. and Walford. G. (2000). Durkheim's Suicide : a century of research and debate. London: Routledge.

Pickering, W.S.F. (1984). Durkheim's sociology of religion : themes and theories. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul.

Pickering, W.S.F. (1975). Durkheim on religion : a selection of readings with bibliographies. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul.

Pickering, W.S.F and Martins, H. (eds.) (1994). Debating Durkheim. London: Routledge.

Poggi, G. (1983) Calvinism and the capitalist spirit : Max Weber's Protestant ethic. London: Macmillan.

Poggi, G. (2000). Durkheim. Oxford: OUP.

Ramp,W., (1998), ‘Effervescence, differentiation and representation’, in The Elementary Forms, in Allen, N., Pickering, W. and Miller, W. Watts (eds), On Durkheim's Elementary forms of religious life, London: Routledge.

Rawls, A., (1996), ‘Durkheim’s epistemology: the neglected argument’, American Journal of Sociology., 102 (2): 430–482.

Shilling, C. and Mellor, P. A. (1998). 'Durkheim, Morality and Modernity: Collective Effervescence, homo duplex and the sources of moral action', The British journal of sociology., 49 (2): 193-209.

Shilling, C. and Mellor, P.A. (2011) ‘Retheorising Emile Durkheim on society and religion: embodiment, intoxication and collective life’, The sociological review. 59(1): 17-45.

Simmel, G. (1997) Essays on religion, J.Helle (ed.).New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.

Tönnies, F. (1957 [1887]). Community and Association. Michigan: Michigan State University Press.

Weber, M., (1948 [1915]), ‘Religious rejections of the world and their directions’, in Gerth, H.H. and Mills, C.W. (eds), From Max Weber, London: Routledge.

Vandenberghe. F (2010) ‘Immanent transcendence in Georg Simmel’s sociology of religion’, Journal of classical sociology., 10 (1): 5-32.

Weber, M. (2001 [1930]). The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism. London: Routledge

Wernick, A. (2001) Auguste Comte and the religion of humanity : the post-theistic program of French social theory. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

The Journal of classical sociology. also contains many useful articles and is available online via the University of Leeds e-journal catalogue. This resource is a valuable accompaniment to the above reading list and is well worth browsing when preparing essays.

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Contemporary Sociology/Sociology of Religion

Ammerman, N. T (1987) Bible believers : fundamentalists in the modern world. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press. OCR REQUESTED BY LIBRARY (SRJ 22/08/2017)   

Ammerman, N. T. (2006) (ed). Everyday religion : observing modern religious lives. Oxford: OUP

Ammerman, N.T. (2014) Sacred stories, spiritual tribes : finding religion in everyday life. Oxford: OUP

Beck, U. (1992). Risk society : towards a new modernity, London: Sage.

Beckford, J. A. (1989). Religion and Advanced Industrial Society. London: Hyman.

Beckford, J. A. (1992). 'Religion, modernity and postmodernity', in B.R.Wilson (ed.), Religion : contemporary issues : the All Souls seminars in the sociology of religion. London: Belew.

Beckford, J. A. (2003) Social theory and religion. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Beckford, J. A. and Demerath II, N.J. (eds.) (2007) The SAGE handbook of the sociology of religion. London: Sage.

Beckford, J. A. (2010) ‘The return of public religion? A critical assessment of a popular claim’, Nordic Journal of Religion and Society, 23 (2): 121–136. Available at:

Bender, C, Cadge, W, Levitt, P, and D. Smilde (2013) (eds). Religion on the edge : de-centering and re-centering the sociology of religion. Oxford: OUP.

Berger, P. (1990 [1967]). The Sacred Canopy. Elements of a Sociological Theory of Religion. New York: Anchor Books.     

Berger, P. (1991 [1969]). A rumour of angels : modern society and the rediscovery of the supernatural. New York: Anchor Books.

Berger, P. (1999), (ed.), The desecularization of the world : resurgent religion and world politics, Michigan: Eerdmans

Bruce, S. (2001) The Curious Case of the Unnecessary Recantation: Berger and Secularization. IN Woodhead, L, Heelas, P. and Martin, D. (eds.) Peter Berger and the study of religion ISBN: 0415215323 (pbk); 0415215315. London: Routledge.    

Davidmann, L (1991) Tradition in a rootless world : women turn to Orthodox Judaism. Berkeley: UCP.

Giddens, A. (1990). The consequences of modernity, Cambridge: Polity Press.

Gorski, P and Altinordu, A. (2008) ‘After secularization? ’, Annual review of sociology., 34: 55-85.

Habermas, J. (2008). ‘Notes on Post-Secular Society’, New perspectives quarterly., 25 (4): 17-29.

Hammond, P. (1985 (ed.)). The sacred in a secular age : toward revision in the scientific study of religion. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Hervieu-Léger, D., (2000), Religion as a chain of memory, Cambridge: Polity.

Hunter, J.D and Ainlay, S.C. (Eds) (1986). Making sense of modern times : Peter L. Berger and the vision of interpretive sociology. London: RKP.

Jerryson, M., Juergensmeyer, M., and Margo Kitts (eds) (2013) The Oxford handbook of religion and violence. Oxford: OUP.

Juergensmeyer, M (2000) ‘ Cosmic war’, Terror in the mind of God: the global rise of religious violence (2nd ed), Berkeley: UCP.

Luckmann, T. (1967). The invisible religion : the problem of religion in modern society. New York: Macmillan.

Lynch, G. (2007) Between sacred and profane : researching religion and popular culture. London: IB Tauris.

Mellor, P.A. (2004) Religion, realism and social theory : making sense of society, pp.224, London: Sage Publications/Theory, Culture and Society Series.

Mellor, P. A. and Shilling, C. (1997). Re-forming the body : religion, community and modernity, London: Sage Publications/ TCS.

Mellor, P.A. and Shilling, C. (2010) ‘The Religious Habitus: Religion, Embodiment and Sociological Theory’, in B.S. Turner (ed.) The new Blackwell companion to the sociology of religion, London: Routledge.

Mellor, P.A. and Shilling, C., (2010), ‘Body pedagogics and the religious habitus: A new direction for the sociological study of religion’, Religion., 40: 27–38.

Rambo, L and Farhadian, C. (eds .) The Oxford handbook of religious conversion. Oxford: OUP

Robertson, R. (1970). The sociological interpretation of religion. Oxford: Blackwell.

Robertson, R. (1969). Sociology of Religion. London: Penguin.

Robertson, R. (1992). Globalization : social theory and global culture. London: Sage.

Shilling, C. and Mellor, P.A. (2000). The sociological ambition : elementary forms of social and moral life. London: Sage.

Stark, R. and Bainbridge, W. S. (1996). Religion, deviance, and social control. London: Routledge.

Turner, B (2014) Religion and Contemporary Sociological Theories. Current sociology = La sociologie contemporaine., 62 (6), 771-788. - Available at:

Zuckerman, P. (2003), Invitation to the Sociology of Religion. New York/London: Routledge.

This list was last updated on 13/01/2022