Last modified: 22 May 2019 17:07
Religion is part of culture, and shares many of its most fundamental attributes. This course begins with an in depth re-examination of classical sociological theories of religion with a view to understanding religion as culture. We then examine the relationship between religion and other important social phenomena and experiences, including violence, rebellion, discipline, death, hope and advertising. Advertising makes a good example: modern advertising has religious roots in the 1920s as the ‘promise of redemption’. Now advertising dominates everything, and even education and religion are forced to speak in its terms.
|First Sub Session
|30 credits (15 ECTS credits)
In this class we will examine social theories of religion, beginning with a few important classics (Marx, Weber, Durkheim, Nietzsche), and continuing on to more contemporary social theory. Unlike in classical theory, where the religion question looms large, in most contemporary theory, religion has become a somewhat more peripheral concern. Much of such recent theorizing, however, provides us with vital tools for a sociological comprehension of contemporary (as well as historical) religion. With the question of religion in mind, we will examine relevant writings such as those of the Frankfurt School, Michel Foucault, Charles Taylor, Pierre Bourdieu, Ulrich Beck, René Girard and Dorothy Smith. Our focus will be on thematics that bridge the sociological study of religion with topics relevant to other areas of research. These include power, sacrifice, the body, discipline, ritual, the social imaginary, consumption/commodification, globalization, risk, and rationality.
Information on contact teaching time is available from the course guide.
1st Attempt: Examination (60%), and continuous assessment (40%).
There are no assessments for this course.
Written feedback will be provided for continuous assessment work, where appropriate. This will normally be provided within three weeks of the submission date. Oral feedback on class presentations will also be provided where appropriate.