The relations between religion, polity, economy, and social structure; in particular, the political, economic, and social impact of religious beliefs and organizations, as well as the social determination of these beliefs and organizations; the rise of secularism, the rationalization of modern life, and the emergence of political quasi-religions.
The study of religion from a social perspective has long been an important intellectual endeavor in the field of sociology, even heralding the early development of the field itself. That said, the sociological perspective on religion is often not quite what students expect. Rather than focusing on the fine details of particular religions or the spiritual meanings behind religious messages, in Sociology of Religion we consider religion’s relevance to different groups of people and their societies, the social patterns of who participates and who does not and how, and the connections between religion and politics, economics, education, science. We also continue the sociological tradition of earlier sociologists who pondered the purportedly diminishing role of religion in their time. Together, we will explore the salience of religion in our time; do religions serve abiding or declining purposes today?
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