Podcast: Lois Lee on Nonreligion

Lois Lee talks to the members of the Religious Studies Project team about her views on researching nonreligion, more details and the podcast can be found on the RSP website: 

“It is fast becoming a tradition in ‘nonreligion’ research to acknowledge that Colin Campbell’s seminal call in Toward a Sociology of Irreligion (1971) for a widespread sociological analysis’ of ‘nonreligion’ had until very recently been ignored (Bullivant and Lee 2012). Although there has been a steady stream of output on secularisation, and more recently on atheism, these publications rarely dealt with ‘nonreligion’ as it is ‘actually lived, expressed, or experienced […]in the here and now’ (Zuckerman 2010, viii). One scholar who has been leading the way in theorising and empirically populating this emerging field is Lois Lee, the founding director of the Nonreligion and Secularity Research Network, who joins Chris and Ethan in this podcast, recorded in May 2012 in Edinburgh.

Conference Guides: Nonreligion at AAR 2012 (1st guide)

The NSRN is pleased to announce an additional service for scholars attending conferences not specifically focused on nonreligion, but still covering the field to some extent or another — the publication of conference guides. These guides will contain a distillation of all the sessions/panels and individual papers relating to the field of nonreligion scheduled for the upcoming conference. We will announce the publication of new guides in our news feed (like we are now) but we will also archive them on the new Conference Guides page. If you have any questions or suggestions about the conference guides please direct them to Per Smith.

Without further ado, here is the very first conference guide:

American Academy of Religion (AAR) 2012

CFP: Nonreligion and the Secular: New Horizons for Multidisciplinary Research 4-6 July 2012

The call for papers for the Nonreligion and Secularity Research Network conference is here! The conference is being held at Goldsmiths University, from 4-6 July 2012

Registration details can be found here

Nonreligion and the Secular: New Horizons for Multidisciplinary Research

               

Conveners: Lois Lee (ll317@cam.ac.uk), Stacey Gutkowski (stacey.gutkowski@kcl.ac.uk), and Stephen Bullivant (stephen.bullivant@smuc.ac.uk)

Conference Coordinator: Katie Aston (k.aston@gold.ac.uk)

Following decades of neglect, the academic study of nonreligion has grown rapidly in the past five years. The primary aim of this conference is to bring together scholars across a range of academic disciplines (sociology, anthropology, theology, political science, psychology, history, international relations, area studies) to begin to untangle the confused and individually contested concepts of nonreligion and the secular. Is nonreligion a subcategory of the secular or vice versa? How do the two terms structure one another? What are the practical and theoretical implications of the concepts, such as they are and/or in alternative formulations? The aim of this international conference is to contribute to addressing this lacuna.  While discussions of nonreligion and the secular have been running largely in parallel, they are potentially mutually enriching topics with significant bearing outside of the academy. This conference will consolidate the achievements already made over the past five years by nonreligion scholars and forge new, multidisciplinary dialogue between these researchers and those primarily working with the concept of the secular. This conference will bring together a range of internationally renowned scholars, including keynote speakers Gracie Davie (Exeter), Callum Brown (Dundee), Monika Wohlrab-Sahr (Leipzig), and Humeira Iqtidar (King’s College London).

The conference engages with a historical moment in which forms of religion and nonreligion have increasingly asserted themselves in the public sphere, in non-Western as well as Western settings. In the case of radical Islamism and New Atheism, such assertions have had powerful, sometimes inflammatory and divisive affect. This urgent wider social and political context demonstrates the urgency of a reasoned, global, scholarly contribution, aimed at further theorising and conceptualising nonreligion and the secular, individually and in relation to each other.

 This conference will interrogate three dimensions and welcomes both empirically- and theoretically-based paper contributions which address the following:

 1) Nonreligion as a concept in its own right

What is meant by the term “nonreligion”? How does it manifest itself in the lives of individuals and in collective social activity and identity? Is it the most appropriate term to encompass a range of phenomena and where may its parameters lie? What is the relationship between nonreligion and modernity? Is nonreligion a resonant category outside of Western contexts? 

 2) The nonreligious in relation to notions of the secular

How do nonreligion and the secular mutually constitute one another? Under what historical social and political conditions did the rise of secularism and secularity facilitate the appearance of the nonreligious? Does the emergence of the nonreligious indicate a new phase of modernity?

 3) The implications of nonreligion research for pressing social and political issues associated with discussions of the secular

What bearing does nonreligiosity have on social, political and legal questions about social cohesion and multiculturalism? To what extent do the “harder” forms on nonreligion breed intolerance and fundamentalism? What are the implications of nonreligion for the possibility of democratic consensus and governance? To what extent do secular political landscapes outside of the West involve or even require the presence of nonreligious phenomena?

Publication Outcome: We are planning to publish a selection of the papers presented at the conference in an edited volume.

 The deadline for abstract submission (250 words max) is 27 April 2012. Please send your abstract together with a short biographical note to Katie Aston at k.aston@gold.ac.uk

THIS FRIDAY Matthew Engelke talks at LSE: ‘Do you realize?’ Humanism and the anthropology of non-religion.

A last minute events addition, this Friday (20 January), Matthew Engelke will be giving an extended version of the talk he previously gave at the Atheism and Anthropology workshop at UCL last year (Lorna Mumford’s useful discussion of that event provides a summary: https://nonreligionandsecularity.files.wordpress.com/2011/12/events-report-lorna-mumford-nsrn-net.pdf ). The talk will be part of the LSE’s Research Seminar on Anthropological Theory seminar series, which is open to all researchers. Details are as follows:

Friday 10:30am – 12:30pm

Seligman Library (OLD 6.05) Old Building, LS

 

Further info can be found here:

 

http://www2.lse.ac.uk/anthropology/events/seminars_lectures.aspx

Westminster Faith Debates

A series of debates on religion in public life, running from February to May 2012 at RUSI, 61 Whitehall, SW1A 2ET, Wednesdays fortnightly, 5.30-7pm.

Between 2007-2012 £12m was invested by two research councils, the AHRC and ESRC, in the largest-ever funded research programme on ‘Religion and Society’. In this series leading academics will present findings arising from that research, for response by public figures. Together they will open up debate about the place of religion in public life today.

The series is organised by the Rt Hon Charles Clarke, Professor Linda Woodhead and Dr Rebecca Catto, in co-operation with Theos.

1. Religious Identity in ‘Superdiverse’ Societies – 8th Feb

  • Trevor Phillips, Dominic Grieve, Kim Knott, Therese O’Toole

2. What’s the Place of Faith in Schools? – 22nd Feb

  • Richard Dawkins, John Pritchard, Jim Conroy, Robert Jackson

3. What have we Learned about Radicalisation? – 7th March

  • Mehdi Hasan, Ed Husain, Mark Sedgwick, Marat Shterin, Mat Francis

4. What role for Religious Organisations in an era of Shrinking Welfare? – 21st March

  •  David Blunkett, Peter Smith, Adam Dinham, Sarah Johnsen

5. What Limits to Religious Freedom? – 18th April

  • Lisa Appignanesi, Maleiha Malik, Peter Jones

6. What are the main Trends in Religion and Values in Britain? – 2nd May

  • Aaqil Ahmed, Cole Moreton, Linda Woodhead, Grace Davie

Please email p.ainsworth@lancaster.ac.uk to register for the debates you would like to attend, and visit http://www.religionandsociety.org.uk/faith_debates for further details.

50 New Additions to the NSRN Bibliography

Now that things are slowly getting back to normal after the holiday season, we thought some extra reading might be in order.

The following items have been added to the NSRN’s bibliography today, and are mostly the result of suggestions from visitors to the website. A huge thanks to everyone who suggested items – please keep them coming.

The complete bibliography can  be viewed in a list organised by author surname or publication date.

—————–

  • Alicino, F. 2011. “The Collaborations-Relations Between Western (Secular) Law and Religious Nomoi Groups in Today’s Multicultural Context : The Cases of France and Canada.” Transition Studies Review 18 (2): 430-444.
  • Aston, Katie. 2011. Atheism Explained by Jonathan Lanman (NSRN Annual Lecture 2011). NSRN Events Report series [online]. NSRN, October 25. http://nsrn.net/events/events-reports.
  • Baker, Joseph O’Brian, and Buster Smith. 2009. “The Nones: Social Characteristics of the Religiously Unaffiliated.” Social Forces 87 (3): 1251-1263.
  • Bradley, Arthur, and Andrew Tate. 2010. The new atheist novel: fiction, philosophy and polemic after 9/11. Continuum International Publishing Group, April 11.
  • Bullivant, Stephen, and Lois Lee. 2012. “Interdisciplinary Studies of Non-religion and Secularity: The State of the Union.” Journal of Contemporary Religion 27 (1).
  • Caplow, T. 1998. “The Case of the Phantom Episcopalians.” American Sociological Review 63 (1): 112-113.
  • Chatterjee, Nandini. 2011. The Making of Indian Secularism: Empire, Law and Christianity, 1830-1960. Palgrave Macmillan, March 1.
  • Cragun, Ryan, Barry A. Kosmin, Ariela Keysar, Joseph H. Hammer, and Michael Nielsen. 2012. “On the Receiving End: Discrimination Toward the Non-Religious in the United States.” Journal of Contemporary Religion 27 (1).
  • Demerath, N. J., III, and Victor Thiessen. 1966. “On Spitting Against the Wind: Organizational Precariousness and American Irreligion.” American Journal of Sociology 71 (6): 674-687.
  • Ellison, Christopher G., and Darren E. Sherkat. 1995. “The ‘Semi -Involuntary Institution’ Revisited: Regional Differences in Church Participation Among Black Americans.” Social Forces 74.
  • Festinger, L. 1956. When Prophecy Fails. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.
  • Gorski, Philip S., and Ateş Altinordu. 2008. “After Secularization?” Annual Review of Sociology 34 (1): 55-85.
  • Gutkowski, Stacey. 2012. “The British Secular habitus and the War on Terror.” Journal of Contemporary Religion 27 (1).
  • Hadaway, C. Kirk, and Wade Clark Roof. 1979. “Those Who Stay Religious ‘Nones’ and Those Who Don’t: A Research Note.” Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 18 (2): 194-200.
  • Hadaway, C.K., and P.L. Marler. 1993. “All in the Family: Religious Mobility in America.” Review of Religious Research 35 (2): 97-116.
  • Hadaway, C.K., P.L. Marler, and M. Chaves. 1998. “Overreporting Church Attendance in America: Evidence That Demands the Same Verdict.” American Sociological Review 63 (1): 122-130.
  • Hout, Michael, and Andrew Greeley. 1998. “What Church Officials’ Reports Don’t Show: Another Look at Church Attendance Data.” American Sociological Review 63 (1): 113-119.
  • Hunter, Laura A. 2010. “Explaining Atheism: Testing the Secondary Compensator Model and Proposing an Alternative.” Interdisciplinary Journal of Research on Religion 6.
  • Knott, Kim. 2010. “Theoretical and Methodological Resources for Breaking OPen the Secular and Exploring the Boundary between Religion and Non-religion.” Historia Religionum 2: 115-133.
  • Kraut, Benny. 1979. From Reform Judaism to Ethical Culture: The Religious Evolution of Felix Adler. New York: Hebrew Union College Press.
  • Lanman, Jonathan. 2011. “Thou Shalt Believe -: Or Not.” New Scientist.
  • ———. 2012. “The Importance of Religious Displays for Belief Acquisition and Secularization.” Journal of Contemporary Religion 27 (1).
  • Lee, Lois. 2012. “Research Note: Talking about a Revolution: Terminology for the New Field of Non-religion Studies.” Journal of Contemporary Religion 27 (1).
  • Lerner, Berel Dov. 1995. “Understanding a (Secular) Primitive Society.” Religious Studies 31: 303-309.
  • Lowis, M.J., A.J. Jewell, M.I. Jackson, and R. Merchant. 2011. “Religious and Secular Coping Methods Used by Older Adults : An Empirical Investigation.” Journal of Religion, Spirituality and Aging 23 (4): 279-303.
  • Luehrmann, S. 2011. Secularism Soviet Style: Teaching Atheism and Religion in a Volga Republic. Indiana: Indiana University Press.
  • MacKillop, I.D. 1986. The British Ethical Societies. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Merino, Stephen M. 2012. “Irreligious Socialization? The Adult Religious Preferences of Individuals Raised with No Religion PDF Stephen M. Merino.” Secularism and Nonreligion 1: 1-16.
  • Mumford, Lorna. 2011. Atheism and Anthropology: Researching Atheism and Self-Searching Belief and Experience Workshop. NSRN Events Report series [online]. NSRN, December. http://www.nsrn.net/events/events-reports.
  • Orsi, R. 2005. Between heaven and earth: the religious worlds people make and the scholars who study them. Princeton, NJ and Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Parmeggiani, F. 2011. “Speaking of God : The Post-Secular Challenge for Italian Feminist Thought and Practices.” Annali D Italianistica 29: 417-430.
  • Presser, S., and M. Chaves. 2007. “Is Religious Service Attendance Declining?” Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 46 (3): 417-423.
  • Quack, Johannes. 2012. “Organised Atheism in India: An Overview.” Journal of Contemporary Religion 27 (1).
  • Radest, Howard B. 1969. Toward Common Ground: The Story of the Ethical Societies in the United States. New York: Frederick Unger Publishing Co.
  • ———. 1990. The Devil and Secular Humanism: The Children of the Enlightenment. Westport, CT: Praeger.
  • Roof, W.C., and W. McKinney. 1987. American Mainline Religion: Its Changing Shape and Future. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press.
  • Sandomirsky, S., and J. Wilson. 1990. “Processes of Disaffiliation: Religious Mobility among Men and Women.” Social Forces 68: 1211-1229.
  • Schwadel, P. 2010. “Period and Cohort Effects on Religious Nonaffiliation and Religious Disaffiliation: A Research Note.” Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 49 (2): 311-319.
  • Stark, Rodney, Eva Hamberg, and Allen S. Miller. 2005. “Exploring Spirituality and Unchurched Religions in America, Sweden, and Japan.” Journal of Contemporary Religion 20 (1): 3-23.
  • Stolzenberg, R.M., M. Blair-Loy, and L.J. Waite. 1994. “Stolzenberg, R. M., Blair-Loy, M., & Waite, L. J. (1994). Religious Participation in Early Adulthood: Age and Family Life Cycle Effects on Church Membership. American Sociological Review, 60, 84-103.” American Sociological Review 60: 84-103.
  • Tamney, Joseph B., Shawn Powell, and Stephen Johnson. 1989. “Innovation Theory and Religious Nones.” Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 28 (2): 216-229.
  • Taylor, Charles. 1998. Modes of Secularism. In Secularism and its Critics: Themes in Politics, ed. Rajeev Bhargava, 32-53. New Delhi: Oxford University Press.
  • Vargas, N. 2011. “Retrospective Accounts of Religious Disaffiliation in the United States: Stressors, Skepticism, and Political Factors.” Sociology of Religion (October 11). doi:10.1093/socrel/srr044. http://secularismandnonreligion.org/index.php/snr/article/view/5.
  • Veevers, J.E., and D.F. Cousineau. 1980. “The Heathen Canadians: Demographic Correlates of Nonbelief.” The Pacific Sociological Review 23 (2): 199-216.
  • Voas, David, and Siobhan McAndrew. 2012. “Three Puzzles of Non-religion in Britain.” Journal of Contemporary Religion 27 (1).
  • Welch, Michael R. 1978a. “Religious Non-Affiliates and Worldly Success.” Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 17 (1): 59-61.
  • ———. 1978b. “The Unchurched: Black Religious Non-Affiliates.” Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 17 (3): 289-293.
  • Wilson, J., and Darren E. Sherkat. 1994. “Returning to the Fold.” Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 33: 148-161.
  • Zuckerman, Phil. 2009. “Why are Danes and Swedes so Irreligious?” Nordic Journal of Religion and Society 22 (1).
  • ———. 2011. Faith No More: Why People Reject Religion. New York: Oxford University Press.

Secularism and Nonreligion Journal: Article publication Vol. 1 January 2012

The first article published in Vol 1, January 2012, Stephen M. Merino, Irreligious Socialization? The Adult Religious Preferences of Individuals Raised with No Religion

ABSTRACT: Recent birth cohorts of Americans are more likely than previous cohorts to be raised outside of a religious tradition. In addition, those raised with no religion are increasingly likely to have no religion as adults. Despite their growing numbers, individuals raised with no religion have received little  attention from scholars. The adult religious preferences of these individuals provide researchers with a unique opportunity to test theories of religion and social change. Using General Social Survey data, I examine the adult religious preferences and beliefs of individuals raised with no religion. I provide evidence of a shift in socialization and social influences experienced by those who report growing up with no religion. Compared with earlier cohorts raised with no religion, more recent cohorts have had more secular upbringings and tend to be more secular, liberal, and wary of organized religion as adults. They are also more likely to have a religiously unaffiliated spouse, if they marry at all. Results from a logistic regression analysis indicate that these trends explain much of the cohort differences in the likelihood of remaining unaffiliated as an adult.

KEYWORDS: NONRELIGION, SOCIALIZATION, SOCIAL INFLUENCE

To see the latest publication please follow the link to the Secularism and Nonreligion Journal current issue

http://secularismandnonreligion.org/index.php/snr/issue/current

‘Atheism and Non-religion’ Panel at SOCREL 2012

The draft programme for the 2012 Sociology of Religion Study Group of the British Sociological Association (SOCREL) – Religion and (In)Equalities – has recently been announced, and is available here.

The conference dates are 28-30 March 2012 at the University of Chester, UK. The entire programme looks thoroughly stimulating, and contains a number of papers which should be of interest to NSRN researchers.

Of particular relevance is the ‘Atheism and Non-Religion’ panel on 29 March at 09.00:

Spencer Bullivant
Atheist summer camps: Transitioning away from conceptions of disbelief to belief

Christopher R. Cotter
The inherent inequalities of the religion-nonreligion dichotomy: A narrative approach to individual (non-)religiosity

Lydia Reid
Religion and modernity

Janet Eccles & Rebecca Catto
Countercultural or mainstream? Some reflections from the Young Atheist Project

Religion and Social Change – Association for the Sociology of Religion 2012 Annual Meeting

http://www.sociologyofreligion.com/annual-meeting/

The 2012 annual meeting of the Association for the Sociology of Religion will take place August 17-18 in Denver, Colorado at the Grand Hyatt. The Grant Hyatt is a Four Diamond hotel in the heart of downtown Denver, close to restaurants, shopping and entertainment, including the world famous Tattered Cover bookstore.

Our 2012 meeting will take place immediately prior to the meetings of
the ASA’s religion section, but will not overlap with those sessions. This will allow members to attend sessions at both meetings in a shorter window than previous years. The Grant Hyatt is a block away from the ASA conference hotel, the Hyatt Regency.

The theme of this year’s meeting is religion and social change. Most religions traditions are predicated upon the idea that conversion transforms the individual and widespread acceptance of religious principles results in a utopian society. Some religions attempt to produce or prevent change by influencing the wider discourse surrounding key moral and political debates; others promote programs at the local level; and still others, viewing society as beyond repair, attempt to produce their own utopian sub-societies. Yet, religion is also the product of social changes that mold beliefs and transform religious institutions.

While we welcome papers on all subjects, we expect many presentations to explore the complex relationship between religion and social change. Further, this year’s meeting will have a strong focus on professional development with special sessions on funding and disseminating research, navigating the tenure process, publishing and writing, and resources available for research. These sessions will include a panel with the editors of Sociology of Religion and Review of Religious Research.

LCD projectors and screens will be available for all presentations.

DEADLINES:
-Session Proposals are due by 31 March 2012
-Paper Proposals and Abstracts are due by 30 April 2012

SUBMISSION GUIDELINES: (1) Email your proposal to ASR2012@augustana.edu as a Word attachment. Place the title of your proposal first, then names, affiliations, and email addresses of all authors, then your abstract/proposal, all on one sheet of paper. (2) Limit paper abstracts to a maximum of 100 words. (3) 2012 membership in ASR is required for program consideration (one author, for multiauthored papers). Do not submit proposals prior to 1 January.

PROGRAM CHAIR: Christopher Bader, Chapman University.

British Social Attitudes Survey Reveals 50% of Britons have “No Religion”

The National Centre for Social Research has published its British Social Attitudes Survey 2011-2012. You can see the full report, authored by Lucy Lee, on the website of the “National Centre for Social Research”, which conducted the survey.

Table 12.1 Religious Affiliation Taken from the BSA survey 2011_12

The report demonstrates that the proportion of those who claim to be Christian [Church of England] is much lower at 20%, than suggested by the 2001 Census, which claimed 71.7% of people in England and Wales were identified as Christian. The second overwhelming finding was that 50% of the population claimed no religion, in comparison to the 14.5% stating no-religion in the 2001 Census. The other statistics remain fairly consistent, suggesting perhaps that many of the “nones” have migrated from the category of “Christian” or “Church of England” self-identification to having none. However, more data is needed before such hypothesis can be upheld so we eagerly await the Census Data 2011, but perhaps this show early signs of the success of the BHA Census 2011 campaign and others like it, which have bought identification as an issue to the fore.

The Census 2001 Key Statistics, Local Authorities in England and Wales can be found on the Office for National Statistics website.