- Grace Davie, University of Exeter
"Serious social scientists who care about making sense of the world can no longer ignore the fact that religious beliefs and practices are an important part of this world... This Handbook is a valuable resource for specialists and amateurs alike. The editors have done an exceptionally fine job of incorporating topics that illuminate the range and diversity of religion and its continuing significance throughout the world."
- Robert Wuthnow, Princeton University
At a time when religions are increasingly affecting, and affected by, life beyond the narrowly sacred sphere, religion everywhere seems to be caught up in change and conflict. In the midst of this contention and confusion, the sociology of religion provides a rich source of understanding and explanation. This Handbook presents an unprecedentedly comprehensive assessment of the field, both where it has been and where it is headed. Like its many distinguished contributors, its topics and their coverage are truly global in their reach.
The Handbook's 35 chapters are organized into eight sections: basic theories and debates; methods of studying religion; social forms and experiences of religion; issues of power and control in religious organizations; religion and politics; individual religious behaviour in social context; religion, self-identity and the life-course; and case studies of China, Eastern Europe, Israel, Japan, and Mexico.
Each chapter establishes benchmarks for the state of sociological thinking about religion in the 21st century and provides a rich bibliography for pursuing its subject further. Overall, the Handbook stretches the field conceptually, methodologically, comparatively, and historically. An indispensable source of guidance and insight for both students and scholars.
Choice 'Outstanding Academic Title' 2009