Religion exists in a social context. The sociology of religion is concerned with this social nature of religion and the mutually influencing interactions between religion and its social environment. While religion can be studied through a variety of theoretical lenses, the sociological perspective treats religion as a social institution that can be an agent of social change, control, cohesion, and division. We will be attuned to the ways in which religion intersects with other social institutions including the state, education, and family, as well as the intersection of religion with race, class, gender, and sexuality.This course does not attempt to argue for the legitimacy of one set of religious beliefs over another set of beliefs (or none at all). It is not a philosophy or theology course, and thus will not delve into the theological nuances of particular belief systems or ponder questions such as “Is there a God?” or “Why is there so much suffering in the world?” Such approaches do not fall within the scope of this course nor of the social sciences in general.
Private College or University Institution Type
Syllabus Resource Type
Undergraduate Course Class Type
2011 Date Published
Religious Studies, Sociology Discipline
General Comparative Traditions Religous Tradition
Class/Power, Politics/Law/Government, Race/Ethnicity Topics