Religion in Theory and Practice - Demystifying the Field for Burgeoning Scholars - Russell T. McCutcheon

Religion in Theory and Practice - Demystifying the Field for Burgeoning Scholars - Russell T. McCutcheon

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
Russell T. McCutcheon is Distinguished Research Professor and Chair of the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Alabama. His major publications include Manufacturing Religion (Oxford University Press, 1997), The Guide to the Study of Religion(Bloomsbury, 2000), Critics not Caretakers: Redescribing the Public Study of Religion (State University of New York Press, 2001) and The Discipline of Religion: Structure, Meaning, Rhetoric (Routledge, 2003). His most recent book, co-authored with William Arnal, is The Sacred is the Profane: The Political Nature of 'Religion' (Oxford University Press, 2013).

Description

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.

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Citation

McCutcheon, Russell. 3. The Sociology of Religion or Social Theory of Religion?. Religion in Theory and Practice - Demystifying the Field for Burgeoning Scholars. Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom. p. 32-52 Sep 2018. ISBN 9781781796832. https://www.equinoxpub.com/home/view-chapter/?id=34251. Date accessed: 25 Aug 2019 doi: 10.1558/equinox.34251. Sep 2018

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