Basia Spalek and Alia Imtoual

in Religion, spirituality and the social sciences

Published by Policy Press

Published in print September 2008 | ISBN: 9781847420411
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781447303190 | DOI:

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This chapter summarises the themes of the book, which focus on religion and spirituality in popular culture and policy arenas as well as within the academy. The first section examines the notion of secularism in relation to contemporary Western society. The second part considers the emergence of social scientific disciplines within the context of modernity and Enlightenment philosophy, exploring how the values underlying social scientific inquiry might serve to marginalise religion and spirituality. The last part is comprised of reflections on social science research methodologies when researching religion and spirituality. In addition to reviewing the dominant themes of the book, the chapter also concludes that the volume is able to explore the current theoretical underpinnings of various social science disciplines and link these to the development of research approaches and the resultant ways in which religion and spirituality have been marginalised from these approaches. It has provided a space to explore the complexities for researchers who are negotiating with the voices of faith communities and how social science research frameworks can respectfully and critically work with these communities, specifically on issues of identity, difference, and representation.

Keywords: religion; secularism; social scientific disciplines; modernity; Enlightenment philosophy; social scientific inquiry; identity; representation; social science; faith communities

Chapter.  2710 words. 

Subjects: Sociology of Religion

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