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4. Theories of Religion
About this Lecture
In this module, we think about some key theories of religion, focusing on: (i) Marx’s materialist theory of religion as the product of economic inequality and oppression; (ii) methodologically holistic theories - theories which focus on the relationship between religion and large-scale social processes - such as Durkheim’s notion of “collective effervescence”; (iii) methodologically individualistic approaches which argue that religion fulfils individuals’ need for meaning, exemplified by Weber and Georg Simmel.
In this course, Professor Chris Shilling (University of Kent) provides an introduction to the sociology of religion. In the first module, we ask why sociologists continue to study religion despite the dominance for many decades of secularisation theory. The second module discusses some key problems sociologists encounter when studying religion, including issues with its definition. In the third and fourth modules, we consider some influential theories regarding the origins of religion and its place in society. In the final module we explore the role of religion in the contemporary world, focusing on three examples – religious radicalism, civil religion and prosperity Pentecostalism.
Professor Chris Shilling is Professor of Sociology at the University of Kent. He has written widely across a range of issues in sociological theory, including religion and the sociology of the body. His recent publications include Uncovering Social Life: Critical Perspectives from Sociology (2017, as co-author), The Body: A Very Short Introduction (2016), and Sociology of the Sacred: Religion, Embodiment and Social Change (2014, as co-author).
Cite this Lecture
Shilling, C. (2021, November 26). The Sociology of Religion - Theories of Religion [Video]. MASSOLIT. https://www.massolit.io/courses/the-sociology-of-religion/theories-of-religion
Shilling, Chris. "The Sociology of Religion – Theories of Religion." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 26 Nov 2021, https://www.massolit.io/courses/the-sociology-of-religion/theories-of-religion