2021/22 Undergraduate Module Catalogue
THEO2251 Sociology of Religion
20 creditsClass Size: 50
Module manager: Dr Ben Wood
Taught: Semester 2 (Jan to Jun) View Timetable
Year running 2021/22
This module is approved as a discovery module
Module summaryThroughout much of its history, sociology, more than any other academic discipline, encouraged us to believe that the world was becoming an increasingly secular, less religious, place. Today, this belief looks mistaken: religion has not disappeared, and has, if anything, tightened its grip upon the hearts and minds of people throughout the world. This does not mean that sociology is no longer important for the study of religion, however. In fact, if we return to the 'classical' founders of the discipline, we can see that their interest in religion is more complex, sensitive and thorough than that of many of their later followers. Furthermore, it is also clear that, for many of them, the idea of a world without religion makes no sense at all, and that sociology, the study of society, must also, necessarily, be the study of religion. Consequently, one aim of this module is to look at these classical theorists again, alongside the work of more modern theorists, and rethink what sociology might offer to the contemporary analysis of religion, culture and society. The module is taught through lectures and seminars, and students do not need a background in sociology or religious studies.
ObjectivesThe objectives of this module are to introduce a broad range of theoretical and methodological issues central to the sociological study of religion; to assess the significance of recent developments in social theory for the study of modern religion; and to enable students to reflect critically on the interrelationship between religion and society in the context of modernity. A major concern of the module is to explore how a number of influential theories of religion are related to broader theories of society, particularly with regard to debates about the indispensability of religion to the construction and maintenance of social orders, and counter-arguments about the secularisation of modern societies. The module is concerned principally with the place and character of religion in the theories of the major 'classical' figures in sociology and the work of those who build on their legacy.
After an introduction to key concepts in the sociology of religion the lectures will cover key figures in the sociology of religion (including, for example, Emile Durkheim, Max Weber and Peter Berger) and their influence in some of the key current debates and issues in the field (including, for example, secularization theory, modernity and postmodernity, globalization post-secularism and pluralism).
The seminars will provide the opportunity for a close reading of some of the key texts in sociology of religion including, for example:
Auguste Comte: Positivism and the Religion of Humanity
Emile Durkheim: The Elementary Forms of Religious Life
Max Weber: The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism
Peter Berger: The Sacred Canopy
Seminars will also be used as an opportunity to discuss assessment tasks.
|Delivery type||Number||Length hours||Student hours|
|Private study hours||178.00|
|Total Contact hours||22.00|
|Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)||200.00|
Private studyPreparation for lectures
Preparation for seminars
Opportunities for Formative FeedbackDiscussion of concepts and ideas in office hours and during seminars; opportunity to submit a 1,000 word essay plan for written feedback.
Methods of assessment
|Assessment type||Notes||% of formal assessment|
|Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)||100.00|
Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated
Reading listThe reading list is available from the Library website
Last updated: 11/01/2022
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