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Religion in Society

We all have extensive personal experience with religion. This course is about, among others, how things social shape our personal experience. Religion exists in a social contextit is shaped by and shapes that social context. Moreover, religion is always a socially constituted reality; that is, its content and structure are always formed, at least partially, out of the “stuff” of the sociocultural world (language, symbols, norms, interactions, organizations, inequality, conflict and cooperation). In Religion in Society, we seek to understand both the “socialness” of religion itself and the mutually influencing interactions between religion and its social environment. We examine religious beliefs, practices, and organizations from a sociological perspective, with a primary (but not exclusive) focus on religion in the contemporary U.S.


This syllabus was created for the Young Scholars in American Religion program.

Michael Emerson

Bethel College

Private College or University
Institution Type

Resource Type

Undergraduate Course
Class Type

Date Published

Religious Studies, Sociology

General Comparative Traditions, Islam, Judaism, New Religious Movements, Protestant
Religous Tradition

Pluralism/Secularism/Culture Wars, Race/Ethnicity, Theology/Liturgy

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