Society, Spirituality, and the Sacred: A Social Scientific Introduction, Second Edition

By Donald S. Swenson

© 2009

In Society, Spirituality, and the Sacred, Swenson draws on both Weber's Charisma and Routinization of Charisma and Thomas O'Dea's Dilemmas of the Institutionalization of Religion to reveal how religion has both a positive and negative effect on people. Moving from the individual experience of the sacred to the more institutional religious experience, the book explores the many manifestations of religious life and offers a synthesis of folk religions, new religions, the New Age Movement, and the challenges posed by the secularization of contemporary life. This approach to studying the sociology of religion offers a more challenging and provocative opportunity for students compared to other texts on the market.

The second edition has been thoroughly revised and updated to integrate the latest developments in the field and to offer a more global approach to the study of religion. New chapters on women and religion and new religious movements have been added and discussions of Islam, indigenous religions and postmodernism have been significantly expanded.

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Product Details

  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 464 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.2in x 1.4in x 9.1in
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SKU# HE000208

  • PUBLISHED AUG 2009

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    Regular Price: $52.95

    ISBN 9780802096807
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Quick Overview

"This work makes a much-needed contribution to teaching and learning about the various forms of religious belief and action in our world." - Kevin J. Christiano, University of Notre Dame

Society, Spirituality, and the Sacred: A Social Scientific Introduction, Second Edition

By Donald S. Swenson

© 2009

In Society, Spirituality, and the Sacred, Swenson draws on both Weber's Charisma and Routinization of Charisma and Thomas O'Dea's Dilemmas of the Institutionalization of Religion to reveal how religion has both a positive and negative effect on people. Moving from the individual experience of the sacred to the more institutional religious experience, the book explores the many manifestations of religious life and offers a synthesis of folk religions, new religions, the New Age Movement, and the challenges posed by the secularization of contemporary life. This approach to studying the sociology of religion offers a more challenging and provocative opportunity for students compared to other texts on the market.

The second edition has been thoroughly revised and updated to integrate the latest developments in the field and to offer a more global approach to the study of religion. New chapters on women and religion and new religious movements have been added and discussions of Islam, indigenous religions and postmodernism have been significantly expanded.

Continue Reading Read Less

Product Details

  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 464 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.2in x 1.4in x 9.1in
  • Reviews

    Society, Spirituality, and the Sacred makes a strong case for the continuing relevance of a Weberian approach to the sociology of religion, and does so in a comprehensive and student-friendly manner. The new edition is a rarity: a well-argued case for a particular approach to religion which can also serve as an accessible and up-to-date introduction to the field.


    William Ramp, University of Lethbridge

    Kudos to Donald Swenson for this second edition of his highly valuable text in the social scientific approach to religion.Society, Spirituality, and the Sacred is much more than the typical survey of its subject. In particular, I know of no other work that makes such creative use of the 'dilemmas' (first outlined by Thomas F. O'Dea) that confront the organization of faith. Regardless of their level of study, readers who aspire to a better understanding of the field will discover here a perspective on the sacred in the present age that is both learned and lucid. Because of the uncommonly broad and sensitive view that it incorporates, Professor Swenson's book challenges today's students, born into increasingly pluralistic settings, to develop a more inclusive awareness of religious orientations in their world.


    Kevin J. Christiano, University of Notre Dame
  • Author Information

    Donald S. Swenson is a Professor of Sociology at Mount Royal College, Calgary. He holds a degree in theology from the University of Ottawa and a PhD in sociology from Notre Dame University. He has taught, researched, and written on the sociology of religion for over twenty years.

  • Table of contents

    Acknowledgements

    List of Figures

    Part One: World Views, Social Boundaries, Religious Experiences, and Institutions

    1. The Definitional and Theoretical Bases for the Social Scientific Study of Religion  

    2. Religious Experience

    3. Religious Experience and Social Institutions

    Part Two: The Dilemmas in the Institutionalization of Religion

    4. The Dilemma of Interpretation: Religion as a World View: The Study of Mythologies

    5. The Dilemma of Mixed Motivation: The Study of Sacred Leadership

    6. The Dilemmas of Interpretation and Mixed Motivation: The Study of Women as Leaders

    7. The Symbolic Dilemma: The Study of Ritual

    8. The Dilemma of Administrative Order: The Rise of Sacred Organizations

    9. The Dilemma of Delimitation: The Study of Ethos

    10. The Relationship Between Religion and Politics, Part One: Casearopapism and Hierocracy

    11. The Relationship Between Religion and Politics, Part Two: Alternative Links

    Part Three: Linking Religion to Other Institutions

    12. Religions and the Economy

    13. The Encounter With Culture: Secularization and Postmodernism

    Conclusion

    Glossary

    References

    "

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