ESA Soc of Religion Call for Papers, Turino, 28-31 Aug

The 11th Conference of the European Sociological Association will be held 28-31 August, 2013 in Torino, Italy.

The Research Network Sociology of Religion (RN34) has issued its call for papers.
The call includes joint sessions with Sociology of Culture, Society and Sports, Sociology of Emotions, Qualitative Methods, and Sociology of Migration.

Abstract submission opens on 12 December 2012 and closes 1 February 2013.

Call for Papers
RN34 – Sociology of Religion
Anne-Sophie Lamine
University of Strasbourg, France
Heidemarie Winkel
University of Postdam, Germany

Religion has often been understood as a response to personal, social or cultural crisis. Classical scholars, such as Peter L. Berger and Max Weber, pointed out that it provides a theodicy of good and evil – an account that gives ultimate meaning in a meaningless world. Religions, Stark and Bainbridge (1985) contend, are other-worldly compensators for individuals in crisis – for those who are deprived from this-worldly rewards. Even advocates of the secularization thesis often acknowledge that crisis and rapid social change in society temporarily motivate the popularity of religion (Bruce 1997).
But religion, once considered to be in crisis under the secularizing powers of modernity, is alive and well in Europe. More than that: religion seems to thrive on what can now be called the crisis of modernity. Modern science, the nation state, capitalism, unrestricted consumption and the globalizing economy, have lost much of their credibility and plausibility in many European countries. In this cultural climate, the voices of traditional religious groups grow louder whereas, some say, we are witnessing a massive turn to holistic forms of spirituality (e.g., Campbell 2007). The atheist-secular worldview is more than ever contested by a fraction of Muslims, Christian creationists, Buddhists and other religious groups while a mirror-like process of anti-identification gives rise to alarmist discourses about the return of religions and particularly on the danger of the “islamization of Europe”. Religion has once again become salient in the re-formation of identity and the construction of imagined communities: uprooted from tradition, modern individuals in identity crisis search for new (religious) values and meanings whereas some European nation states align themselves with their Christian heritage, long-standing traditions and religious pasts. Religion, then, can not easily be understood as the ‘irrational’ Other of modernity – it is instead a common and valid response to the growing crisis of modernity. Jurgen Habermas (2005), once a furious critic of religion, argued from this perspective that intellectuals should include religious partners in the ‘rational’ conversation about modernity since both share a growing critique on the maladies of modernity.
Motivated by these observations, the Research Network Sociology of Religion calls for papers on crisis, critique and change in relation to religion.

Particularlypapers are welcomed that discuss the following topics:
Studies dealing with religion in crisis, i.e. the way religious traditions such as Islam, Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism and the like – re-structure their organizations, beliefs, and practices and adopt, negotiate or resist processes of modernization, secularization and disenchantment.

Studies dealing with the ways religion provides answers to existential crisis and, particularly, the crisis of modernity – i.e. how and why Islam, Christianity and other religious-spiritual groups formulate a critique of and alternative to modern science, capitalism, mass-consumption and individualism.

Studies dealing with the way crisis increases the salience of religious identities and cultural polarization, i.e., in what particular ways religion gives meaning in everyday life and if, how and why religious identity-formations induce processes of inclusion and exclusion; social cohesion and religious conflict.

Studies focusing on the way religion changes the modern world in Europe and beyond, i.e., how rapid social changes motivate the appeal and popularity of religion and if, how and why such religions transform private and public domains in Europe.

Sociology of religion (open)

07JS28JS34. RN34 Joint session with RN07 Sociology of Culture and RN28 Society and Sports
Sport and religion/spirituality
(Chairs: Davide Sterchele; Stef Aupers & Hubert Knoblauch)

Whereas the analogy between sport and religion has been criticized by many scholars mainly because of the lack (or low relevance) of the transcendent dimension in traditional sport practices, the recent sociological elaborations of the concept of spirituality seems to provide new interesting tools for interpreting the emerging forms of bodily movement. At the same time, the study of the analogies between traditional sports and institutionalized religions still generates relevant sociological insights.

In order to contribute to these streams of analysis and to open new horizons for further studies, the ESA research networks ‘Sociology of Culture’, ‘Society and Sports’, and ‘Sociology of Religion’, invite potential contributors to submit abstracts to the joint session on ‘Sport and religion/spirituality’. The session will thus provide a forum for exchange and sharing among sociologists of culture, sport and religion, who deal with these themes from different but overlapping perspectives.

RN34 web-page : 07JS34.
RN34 Joint session with RN07 Sociology of Culture Cultures of Religion – Religious Cultures (Chairs: Hubert Knoblauch & Regine Herbrik) “Religious Culture is quite frequently used, particularly in the French context (“culture religieuse”) relating both, to the general as well as to the specific religious patterns of culture. It may serve well not only to address empirical questions concerning the increasing cultural significance of religion within Europe as well as globally; it may also connect recent theoretical approaches in the sociology of culture on the one hand with approaches in the sociology of religion. For the joint session we invite, therefore, contributions addressing both empirical as well as theoretical issues concerning “religious cultures”.

11JS34. RN34 Joint session with RN11 Sociology of emotions Affects and Emotions in the Field of Religion (Chairs: Stef Aupers & Cécile Vermot) Generations of scholars of theology and religious studies have viewed affects, emotions, and religion as closely related issues. What can be said about the certain shapes, characteristics and forms of this relationship in present times? How far is the research on emotions especially crucial for the understanding of religious life in Europe and for the coexistence, or even living together, of different confessions? What role do “emotional regimes” (Riis/Woodhead) or “feeling rules” (Hochschild) play with regard to the formation of emotional cultures both in religious groups and communities and with regard to the quest for salvation or spirituality of individual persons?

20JS34. RN34 Joint session with RN20 Qualitative Methods Qualitative Research on Religion(Chairs: Regine Herbrik & Bernt Schnettler) We also encourage participants to present papers concerned with methodological questions related to the specific problems of empirical research in the Study of Religions. Can we transfer methods from other fields of research to the sociology of religion or do we need special, field-specific methods? What can we learn from methods used in neighbouring disciplines? Which sets of methods can be recommended for empirical analyses targeting micro-macro issues in understanding religion? What role does the gender issue play in this? We are especially interested in papers reporting empirical research finding in the sociology of religion using qualitative research methods in combination with methodological reflections.

34JS35. RN34 Joint session with RN35 Sociology of Migration Migrant religions as a challenge to European identities (Chairs: Berta Alvarez-Miranda & Heidemarie Winkel) Already in classical sociological theory, religion functioned as a looking glass of change in times of crisis. At present, migrant religions are challenging and contributing to a critique of European identities. How do various European contexts accommodate migrant religions? What are the experiences, attitu­des and demands of their followers? How does the treatment of matters related to Islam inform on European identities and their current transformations? What conceptual and empirical tools does socio­logical analysis offer for the understanding of the varieties of internal and external religious critique?