3. The Sociology of Religion or Social Theory of Religion?
Religion in Theory and Practice - Demystifying the Field for Burgeoning Scholars - Russell T. McCutcheon
Russell T. McCutcheon [+]
University of Alabama
This chapter aims to distinguish among different schools of thought within the sociology of religion, inviting readers to identify and address what can be see as significant differences among those who are interested in the so-called social dimension of religion. Originally written for a resource aimed at lower-level students, and using the work of Max Weber and Emile Durkheim as the ways into the issue, the chapter argues a far wider point, still relevant to much of the field: whether scholars merely chronicle religious expressions in day-to-day life (and thus their interactions with such other domains as politics or economics) or if, instead, we study the social and structural factors that not only cause people to be religious but, more importantly, allow some actors to claim that a subset of their mundane practices are uniquely distinct from all others.