Article

Religion

John Evans

in Sociology

ISBN: 9780199756384
Published online July 2011 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/obo/9780199756384-0046
Religion

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The sociology of religion is a social science that examines how people are religious but does not advocate for a particular theological view, as the field of theology typically does. Religion was an obsession of the first sociologists, and it has been argued that American sociology was invented in reaction to religion. Since that time religion has remained central to the sociological canon as religion has remained a central component of society. Sociologists up until the last quarter of the 20th century assumed that religion was in the process of a slow death—a process called “secularization.” Sociologists now see secularization as occurring only in certain parts of social life, opening the door to the study of the religious influences on a range of social behaviors such as immigration, race relations, and politics. For example, some scholars have asked why immigrants are more religious than others. Other sociologists continue to study religion itself in congregations, or as systems of belief. For example, some sociologists have asked why American religion is increasingly individualistic. American sociologists of religion have remained focused on religion in America and have made limited forays into other parts of the world. There is a related sociology of religion tradition in Europe.

Article.  9707 words. 

Subjects: Sociology ; Comparative and Historical Sociology ; Economic Sociology ; Gender and Sexuality ; Health, Illness, and Medicine ; Population and Demography ; Race and Ethnicity ; Social Movements and Social Change ; Social Stratification, Inequality, and Mobility ; Social Theory

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