Sociology of Religion

BA (Hons) in Theology - Year 1
COURSE UNIT 181 - 8181


This unit provides an introduction to and academic engagement with the central themes of the Sociology of Religion.  Students are introduced to the main schools of thought and theories concerning the place of religion in contemporary society.  They also study the different social scientific methods available for the study of religion in its social context.


To develop knowledge and understanding of the sociology of religion and an appreciation of some of the central issues raised by classic and contemporary social scientific analysis of religious discourse and practice.


Category of outcome

By the end of this unit students should be able to:

Knowledge and understanding

·         Recognise and evaluate concepts central to the Sociology of Religion

Intellectual skills

·         Analyse the main developments in contemporary forms of religion

·         Compare different interpretations of the place of religion in contemporary society

Practical and Transferable skills; Personal qualities

·         Demonstrate relevant skills required in the study of the Sociology of Religion

·         Demonstrate the ability to think critically


Assessment task


Weighting within unit



250 words


1500 words





·         181:


·         8181:

An essay plan and bibliography for the summative assignment

An essay



2000 words

2000 words





·         181:

·         8181:

An essay

An essay

and a learning journal*


* Distance learning students are required to pass this element. So long as this element has been passed, they will be eligible for compensation if the overall unit mark is within the compensation zone (30-39%), and the compensatable credit allowance as set out in the Degree Regulations has not been exceeded.




Available on which programme(s)?

BA in Theology


Sessions will normally include:

1.    Introduction to Sociological Method

2.    The ‘Founding Fathers’ of the Sociology of Religion

3.    Marx’s Critique of Religion

4.    Modernity and Secularisation

5.    Civil Religion

6.    Fundamentalism

7.    Postmodernity

8.    Consumerism

9.    Globalisation

10.  Theological Critiques of Ideology 1

11.  Theological Critiques of Ideology 2

Teaching method

Interactive lectures (8181 distance learning)

Additional eLearning content

Unit materials are available at Spurgeon’s Online to support student learning


Written feedback within 15 working days from submission

Date of approval (for office use)


Information updated on

December 2015


Aldridge, Alan, Religion in the Contemporary World. A Sociological Introduction (Cambridge: Polity, 2000)

Bauman, Z., Collateral Damage: Social Inequalities in a Global Age (Cambridge: Polity, 2011)

Bauman, Z. and Donskis, L., Moral Blindness: The Loss of Sensitivity in Liquid Modernity (Cambridge: Polity, 2013)

Berger, P., Invitation to Sociology (London: Penguin, 1963)

Bruce, S., God is Dead: Secularization in the West (Oxford: Blackwell, 2002)

Davie, Grace, The Sociology of Religion (Los Angeles: Sage Publications, 2007)

Davie, Grace, Paul Heelas and Linda Woodhead, Predicting Religion: Christian, Secular and Alternative Futures (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2003)

Fenn, R. K., The Blackwell Companion to the Sociology of Religion (Oxford: Blackwell, 2001)

Giddens, A., Sociology (Cambridge: Polity, 1993)

Hamilton, Michael, The Sociology of Religion (London: Routledge, 1995)

Milbank, John, Theology and Social Theory (Oxford: Blackwell, 1990)

Taylor, C., A Secular Age (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2007)

Zizek, S., Living in the End Times (London: Verso, 2010)

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Sociology of Religion

BA (Hons) in Theology - Year 1
Course Unit 181 - 8181





Hours of Learning:



Dr Joshua T. Searle

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