Religion, spirituality and the social sciences

Challenging marginalisation

Edited by Basia Spalek and Alia Imtoual

Religion, spirituality and the social sciences

Edited by Basia Spalek and Alia Imtoual

Distributed for Bristol University Press

224 pages | © 2008
Cloth $120.00 ISBN: 9781847420411 Published September 2008 For sale in North and South America only
A growing number of people are claiming or reclaiming a religious or spiritual identity for themselves. Yet, in contemporary Western societies, the frameworks of understanding that have developed within the social science disciplines, and which are used to analyse data, are secular in nature, and so may be inappropriate for investigating some aspects of religion, spirituality and faith and how these intersect with individuals’ lives.This edited collection addresses important theoretical and methodological issues to explore ways of engaging with religion and spirituality when carrying out social science research. Divided into three sections, the book examines the notion of secularism in relation to contemporary western society, including a focus upon secularisation; explores how the values underpinning social scientific enquiry might serve to marginalise religion and spirituality; and reflects on social science research methodologies when researching religion and spirituality.With international contributions from key academics in the fields of religious studies, cultural studies, political science, criminology, sociology, health and social policy, this engaging book will provide social science students, educators, researchers and practitioners with an essential overview of key debates around secularism, faith, spirituality and social science research.
Introduction - Basia Spalek and Alia Imtoual

Part one: Secularism and Society: key debates on secularism and society
Political religion: secularity and the study of religion in global civil society - J.D'Arcy May
Australia's 'shy' de-secularisation process - A. Possamai
Muslims, equality and secularism - Tariq Modood
Section 116: the politics of secularism in Australian legal and political discourse - H. Randell-Moon
Dreams of the autonomous and reflexive self: the religious significance of contemporary lifestyle media - G.Lynch

Part two: Marginalisation of religious and spiritual issues
Studying religion in Sub-Saharan Africa - M. Frahm-Arp
Demographic fertility research: a question of disciplinary beliefs and methods - L. Newman
Turning the world upside down - C.Humphrey
Spirituality and feminism viewed through a global lens - U.King
Reading spirituality: transforming knowledge in a new age - N.Smiljanic

Part three: Reflections on social science research methodologies
Self-assigned religious affiliation: a study among adolescents in England and Wales - L. J Francis
Concepts and misconceptions in the scientific study of spirituality - M Farias and E Hense
Religion, spirituality and social science: researching Muslims and crime - M.Quraishi
Inadvertent offence: when 'a little knowledge is a dangerous thing' - M.Gruppetta

Conclusion - Basia Spalek and Alia Imtoual

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