Spiritualities of Life

Paul Heelas

in The Oxford Handbook of the Sociology of Religion

Published in print February 2011 | ISBN: 9780199588961
Published online September 2009 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Religion and Theology

Spiritualities of Life


This article suggests that the Sociology of Religion be renamed the Sociology of Religion and Spirituality. This idea could find favour with those, among others, who point out that one of the weaknesses of the sociology of religion is that it suffers from an overly rationalised, narrowly defined, institutionalised conception of the religious. One might also add a criticism of its geographical narrowness, whereby, with some notable exceptions, it has confined its focus to the West and then largely to one or two forms of Christianity in the West, while aiming to construct a set of general principles of religious behaviour. The sociology of spirituality is coming into its own at a time of glorious opportunity. A spiritual revolution is taking place right at the moment. Unless change is studied now, it will be too late for critical first-hand research.

Keywords: sociology of religion; Christianity; spiritual revolution; religious behaviour; spirituality

Article.  11655 words. 

Subjects: Religion ; Sociology of Religion

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