Sociology of Religion (2021 MOD006429 TRI2 F01CAM) The Essay: Guidelines – approach

Sociology of Religion (2021 MOD006429 TRI2 F01CAM)
The Essay: Guidelines – approach and structure
Essay layout ‘Arial’ type face; Font size ‘12’; Justified margins; Left Justified Page number in footer of page Double line spacing; Harvard Referencing
2000 words essay
Essay main question:
How does the work of Pierre Bourdieu sociologist of religion help us to understand the social significance of religion in the UK in the 21st Century?
The work of Pierre Bourdieu should be applied to particular issues relating to religion in contemporary society (such as the nature or extent of secularisation). This section addressing the following four learning outcomes.
The following are the four learning outcome questions to address:
Who is the sociologist? Brief biography, with key publications
If you quoted, give reference!
What is the context of the chosen sociologist?:
What geographical context is addressed in their research? (e.g. Jim Beckford works in relation to both Britain and France)
What area of religion is Pierre Bourdieu particularly interested in? (eg. Meredith McGuire’s interest in lived religion, rather than institutional religion; Grace Davie’s interest in changes in religion in Britain since 1945)
Is Pierre Bourdieu involved in any particular sociological debates? (e.g. Bryan Wilson on New Religious Movements; Steve Bruce on secularization)
Does Pierre Bourdieu work in partnership or in dialogue with other scholars on the chosen essay subject area? (e.g. Linda Woodhead worked with Paul Heelas on the Kendal Project and the subjectivization hypothesis)
Do they draw on and/or develop the work of earlier scholars, such as Marx, Weber, Troeltsch, Durkheim, Berger, etc? (eg Gordon Lynch draws on Durkheim and others who have written about the sociology of the sacred since Durkheim)
What are Pierre Bourdieu’s distinctive contribution to sociology of religion
This is where sensible choices are made. Don’t try and cover too much ground! Some sociologists have made several significant contributions to the field (Grace Davie for example). So take one (at most two) distinctive areas. The following questions may help you:
What is the particular contribution being considered? Where is it made (which book(s) and/or article(s)? What is the main argument? What are the key concepts, findings, conclusions? What aspect of contemporary religion does it relate to?
How were the idea(s) developed? What kind of research process was involved (eg quantitative survey, qualitative work, meta-surveys of other people’s research??
How is it distinctive? How different is it from other writers? Does it build on earlier models of the sociology of religion? In what way is it new? (eg. Any debates about how the church typology of Weber or Troeltsch can be applied to New Religious Movements in the 20/21 Centuries; numerous people have used and developed Victor Turner’s work on liminality and rites of passage, e.g. Pierre Bourdieu)
Evaluate the contribution of the Pierre Bourdieu? Does he make good use of evidence? Are the research methods robust? Is there enough evidence cited to make the scale of conclusions that he makes? Is the argument well made? (e.g. In distinguishing between religion and spirituality, do Heelas and Woodhead give a picture that is too binary, too much built on opposition, that doesn’t explore overlap enough?)
Have other scholars responded to Pierre Bourdieu’s contribution? Do they disagree, and if so why? Have they reviewed the key book/article(s)?
How does this particular contribution to the sociology of religion help us to better understand an aspect(s) of contemporary religion (with appropriate examples)?
Draw the essay to a conclusion. (For instance, McGuire changes where and how we look for contemporary religion… An example of this would be her work on popular religion today)