CALL FOR PAPERS: Digital Methodologies in the Sociology of Religion

Call for Papers
Digital Methodologies in the Sociology of Religion
16th November 2012, Enterprise Centre, University of Derby

Organised by the Centre for Society, Religion & Belief
(SRB), University of Derby
Funded by Digital Social Research<> (DSR)

Within an era of a growing reliance on digital technologies to instantly and effectively express our values, allegiances, and multi-faceted identities, the interest in digital research methodologies among Sociologists of Religion comes as no surprise (e.g. Bunt 2009; Cantoni and Zyga 2007; Contractor 2012 and Ostrowski 2006; Taylor 2003). However the methodological challenges associated with such research have been given significantly less attention. What are the epistemological underpinnings and rationale for the use ‘digital’ methodologies? What ethical dilemmas do sociologists face, including while protecting participants’ interests in digital contexts that are often perceived as anonymised and therefore ‘safe’? Implementing such ‘digital’ research also leads to practical challenges such as mismatched expectations of IT skills, limited access to specialized tools, project management and remote management of research processes.

Hosted by the Centre for Society, Religion, and Belief at the University of Derby and funded by Digital Social Research, this conference will bring together scholars to critically evaluate the uses, impacts, challenges and future of Digital Methodologies in the Sociology of Religion. We envisage that the conference will lead to an edited textbook and are currently in discussion with key publishers. For the purpose of the conference and textbook, digital research is broadly defined as research that either works within digital contexts or which uses either online or offline digital tools. Abstracts for papers that focus on one, or more, of the following themes are invited:

1.         Epistemological Positioning
2.         Ethical Dilemmas
3.         Implementation & Practical Challenges
4.         Wider impacts beyond Academia

Please submit an abstract of no more than 300 words, as well as the title of the paper, name of the presenter, institutional affiliation, and contact details to Dr Sariya Contractor ( and Dr. Suha Shakkour ( by 5pm on Tuesday 28th August, 2012. We welcome submissions for Doctoral Candidates and Early
Career Researchers.
Shortlisted participants will be notified by 11th September 2012 and will be expected to submit summary papers (1000 words) by 1st November 2012 for circulation prior to the conference.
A registration fee of £30 will apply for all speakers and delegates.
A few travel bursaries are available for post-graduate students. Further details about the registration process will be circulated by
mid-August 2012.

Dr Sariya Contractor
Project Researcher
Religion and Belief, Discrimination and Equality Project
Faculty of Education, Health and Sciences
University of Derby, Kedleston Road, Derby, DE22 1GB