Category: Sociology of Religion

Why declining church attendance sharpens cultural backlash

Religion occupies an odd place in British public and social life. On the one hand, there is an established church in England, while the Church of Scotland is recognised as the national church in Scotland, guaranteed under the Act of Union of Scotland and England of 1707. But compared with other countries Britain is at a relatively late stage of secularisation. A decreasing proportion of the public attend a place of worship regularly, even taking into account the relatively greater...

The Contested Ground of Science, Politics, and Religion

It is no secret that we live in an era of “fake news” and widespread distrust in basic facts. As I have discussed previously on Sociology Lens, this is a distinguishing feature of Trumpism and much of the rhetoric currently surrounding American politics. Just recently, we saw the idea that the election of Joe Biden as the next President was “fake” playing out in deadly ways when Trump-supporting rioters and White supremacists stormed the Capitol on January 6th. Unfortunately, this...

Coronavirus reflections: Face masks, Islamic dress and colonial differentiation.

Like many countries across the world, France is currently negotiating the coronavirus pandemic and has recently begun to emerge from lockdown by circulating a slogan not dissimilar to the UK government ‘Sauvez des vies, restez prudent’ (Save lives, stay alert). What then is so notable about the French plan to tackle coronavirus and be free from lockdown? Aside from the bureaucratic plan developed in France, the significant and noteworthy method of returning to some sense of ‘normalcy’ is to mandate...

Of bodies and burkinis: institutional Islamophobia, Islamic dress and the colonial condition

The image accompanying this piece was taken last month in France. The image is of a poster that was displayed on the wall of a beach front café, set against the backdrop of armed troops parading the beach front. The overwhelming impression of the poster is the bust of Marianne, her flowing locks said to represent the freedom of the French Republic. She dominates the image, exemplary of what it means to be a woman in France.  The poster is...

Creationism, anti-intellectualism and education

For decades academics, educators, and policy makers have butt heads with creationists (i.e. people who believe in intelligent design over evolution).  Evolution is incompatible with strict religious beliefs that God created the universe.  Religious families have historically contested education on evolution in classrooms, believing that their children are being fed false information that infringes on their religious practice. Longest and Uecker [1] have recently added to this conversation by illuminating the salience and importance of these beliefs.  The authors argue that...

Radicalization: Interview with Kevin McDonald

In his recent book, Radicalization (Polity, 2018) Kevin McDonald unpicks the term radicalization, showing that this term is little understood, and is problematic in that it does not articulate the very different experiences of those involved. New violent actors, whether they travelled to Syria or killed at home, range from former drug dealers and gang members, to students and professionals, schoolgirls, and mothers with young children. The book sets out to explore radicalization not as something done to people, but...