American Sociological Association Section on

Sociology of Religion


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The Sociology of Religion

Religion has been an important dimension of all societies and continues to play an influential role in virtually all aspects of contemporary life. The sociology of religion seeks to understand religion in its varied manifestations as a social institution, as a cultural practice, and as a pattern of beliefs and activities that are shaped by societal conditions and that, in turn, shape these conditions.

In the discipline of sociology, studies of religion have enjoyed a distinguished tradition, including their prominence in the works of Max Weber, Emile Durkheim, and Karl Marx. These studies continue to be a lively area of endeavor, focusing on such current topics as religious movements, religious organizations, and the relationship of religion to gender, culture, politics, globalization, and social change.

Sociologists of religion are characterized by a wide range of religious beliefs, as well as nonbelief, and embrace a variety of theoretical and methodological orientations.



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