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Session 12

Mapping the Spiritual Turn: Consolidating the Sociology of Spirituality

Since the 1960s sociologists of religion have witnessed a number of dramatic shifts in the religious landscapes of Western liberal democracies. One of the most significant has been the decline in markers of traditional religious affiliation and the simultaneous rise in approval of what emically goes by "spirituality."

Yet, for at least a decade issues of academic siloing and over-specialization have plagued the sociology of spirituality. Important historical, ethnographic, and regional studies have been produced, but there has been little concerted attempt to consolidate these in order to shape a larger research agenda. The study of spirituality now takes place across a plethora of subfields, each of which has contributed much to our understanding of the spiritual turn, but whose theoretical and methodological insights have yet to be comprehensively compared or synthesized.

As a result, the sociology of spirituality remains deeply fragmented, with many simply talking past one another. It is therefore high time that the field was properly consolidated. We are looking to shine a light on, and bring into conversation, recent work on the spiritual turn – be it empirical or theoretical in nature – in order to help shape an impactful and forward-looking research agenda.

Contact person: Dick Houtman, dick.houtman@kuleuven.be

Sidansvarig: Elin Widfeldt|Sidan uppdaterades: 2020-01-29

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