Sociology and Religions
An Ambiguous Relationship
Edited by L. Voyé, J. Billiet
What are the relations between sociology and the different religions—Christianity with its various branches, Judaism, Islam, Oriental religions, sects and New Religious Movements? That is the question which this work, conceived on the occasion of the XXVth Conference of the International Society for the Sociology of Religion/Société Internationale de Sociologie des Religions (SISR), wishes to clarify.
The book retraces the varied and troubled history of these relations and also reveals how in opening up its research to other religions besides the Christian, sociology is forced to redefine the very object of its field of study. What is the religious? This question, which until recently was considered impertinent, informs this book throughout.
If confronts the necessity of rethinking theories and methodological approaches which, constructed in the context of 19th and early 20th century Western Europe, prove to be rather inadequate for encompassing contemporary religious phenomena and religious manifestations in other contexts. To these new theoretical and methodological demands is added, for the sociologist, a deontological imperative, which takes on all the more importance today as the religious provokes passionate social debate.