This book offers a sound analysis of religion as a social institution that is interdependent and in constant interaction with other societal units. It helps readers understand the role and function of religion in society that occur regardless of anyone's claims about the truth or falsity of religious systems. Balanced and unbiased, it shows the sociology of religion as a subject that is rich and bountiful. The focus is on American religious institutions, but includes many examples of the interaction of religion and society in other cultures both historic and contemporary; readers will encounter major discussions of Islam and other non-Western religions. For sociologists, clergy, and researchers in the fields of religion and religious studies.
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Fresh with new insights, issues, and developments, this text offers a sound analysis of religion as a social institution that is interdependent and in constant interaction with other societal units. Objective in approach, it shows students the importance of chronicling and analyzing the actions and reactions of religious institutions in our endeavor to understand how societies function and change.Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:
The field of the sociology of religion remains rich and bountiful. Fortunately the quality of researchers is higher than ever, with many bright and well-trained young social scientists joining the ranks eager to make contributions to their chosen field. It is exciting and invigorating to be part of this surge of interest and effort.
As we observe both the many developments and events within societies that have religion as a core ingredient, and as we read the increasing amount of solid research and theorizing in the sociology of religion, it is clear that this seventh edition has a deep reservoir to plumb. Accordingly we have added a significant amount of new material as well as expanded the treatment of subjects that had already been introduced in earlier editions (and we dropped a few pages also). We present a summary below.
The number, structure, and sequence of chapters have remained the same as in the sixth edition. Part I (Chapters 14) is an introduction to the sociological perspective on religion. It grapples with the problem of defining religion, considers the fascinating but ultimately unanswerable question of the origins of religion, and focuses on sociology's distinctive perspective on religion as a social phenomenon. Part II (Chapters 5-6) looks closely at the classic churchsect continuum of religious organization and evolution and considers how conflict figures so commonly in the life of religious organizations. Part III (Chapters 7-11) examines the relationship of religion to major social institutions and structural features of society; religion and politics; religious fundamentalism; religion and the economy; religion and social class; and, finally, religion and the role and perception of women in society. Part IV (Chapters 12-15) covers some of the major features of religion in the United States-the social environment and experience of a majority of the readers of this text. After exploring several highly important sociohistorical developments within American religion, the chapters in Part IV pay particular attention to American socioreligious developments, namely, the African American church, Native American religion, and the phenomenon of denominationalism. Part IV concludes by focusing on primary sociological factors that will significantly affect the future of religion.
This edition retains the book's focus on grounding the sociological study of religion in basic sociological concepts, structures, and theory that demonstrate religion's status as a major social institution that is in constant social interaction and reciprocation with other institutions. As such, religion adapts and evolves in response to challenges and changes within the society in which it operates. Throughout it all religion provides a wide range of choices as people look for answers, encouragement, comfort, and hope.
I want to express sincere appreciation to my brother, Doug, for important and timely information; to Edie Riker, production editor, for answering all my questions and giving good and timely advice throughout the process; and to my wife, Arline, for her steadfastness in tolerating my single-mindedness in putting together yet another edition.
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Book Description Prentice Hall, 2003. Paperback. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # 0131113925
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