Skip to main content


Lockdown liminality: evangelical formation in the age of Covid-19

By late March 2020, a previously unimaginable situation had occurred across the British church as places of worship around the country were forced to lock their doors and in-person collective worship was banned. Believers were forced to change habits that had lasted for lifetimes within a matter of days and around the country churches scrambled to move online – whether on YouTube, Facebook Live, Zoom or other platforms.     Thinking on this new state started immediately and within weeks Heidi Campbell (2020) published an  e-book drawing on reflections of both practitioners and digital religion researchers . Yet this work, along with the majority of coverage around religion in the time of Covid-19, focused on the experience of adult believers. For thousands of child and adolescent Christians, however, the disruption was just as severe, yet can be easily overlooked.    While my ethnographic study of an evangelical youth group in London ended 15 months prior to lockdown, my experiences co

Islamophobia and decolonising sociology

Islamophobia, when acknowledged as a form of racism, is habitually thought to be limited to the west with questions of identities, personal prejudice, securitisation and governance often dominating the conversation. Further, throughout academic literature, much work remains ahistorical where the entanglements of anti-Muslim racism with what Quijano had termed the global ‘colonial matrix of power’ of the ‘modern’ world often go unexplored. Nevertheless, more recently, some work has begun to identify Islamophobia’s global nature, and, to a lesser extent, its presence within Islamic communities (Hafez and Bayrakli 2019).  Seeking to engage this emerging conversation, my work over the past years has sought to specifically document, explore, and theorise Islamophobia as a form of racism within the Arab world, addressing a significant gap across fields and theorisations. For my PhD, this has specifically been through a study of the Muslim hijabi’s lived experiences in Lebanon, where I ha

Communicating Religion: The Socrel Annual Conference 2019

This year’s conference was on the theme of “Communicating Religion” and commenced with a keynote from Uppsala University’s Mia Lövheim on the theme of “Communicating Religion in Mediatised Society”. Drawing on Stig Hjarvard’s work in mediatisation theory — how religion is mediated through secular media institutions — Lövheim contended that this theory can be a useful framework for addressing the complexity of communicating religion, for example by asking what kind of religion is communicated and what religion becomes when it is communicated. Drawing on her reflections in interdisciplinary research, Lövheim urged scholars to engage with the theoretical issues of definitions and to be knowledgeable about the various forms of mediatisation of religion. A number of parallel sessions follows throughout the first day. In “Religion and the Secular: Institutions” Alp Arat communicated the findings of the Leverhulme Trust-funded project, the first “large-scale social

What has sociology of religion got to do with sexuality education?

At the time of writing the UK news media has been closely following the story of protests by Muslim and Christian parents concerned by the teaching of an LGBT rights programme in a Birmingham primary school. This controversy and the storm of commentary it has provoked should remind us that sexuality education has a deep historical entanglement with the political influence and public claims of the religious. Given the imminent implementation of statutory guidance for the teaching of Relationships and Sex Education in all English schools, this is clearly an important time for sociology of religion to attend to sexuality education. So what sort of questions might sociologists of religion want to ask regarding sexuality education? In the flurry of commentary much attention has been given to the rights/bigotry/homophobia of the protesting parents and little to the young people who lie at the centre of this issue. As such, one important inquiry concerns the way in which social constructs

Religion and Education: The Socrel Annual Conference 2018

Last July, while the quasi-religious fever of a then imminent football ‘homecoming’ swept the country, sociology of religion scholars from all over the UK (and indeed the world) gathered at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow for a homecoming of their own. The Sociology or Religion Study Group of the BSA was once more reunited, this time to discuss the relationship between religion and education. What follows is an account of what for me, a newcomer to this exciting collegiate environment, are but a few of the highlights from the gathering. The conference had a great start with  Yvette Taylor  as the keynote speaker of the first plenary session. Taylor’s presentation on queer religious youth in different schools in the UK was very relevant both theoretically and methodologically, with a call for intersectionality in the study of religious groups. Taylor’s findings from her research of queer religious youth in both faith and community schools pointed towards a ‘multi-faceted’ expe

Welcome to the BSA Sociology of Religion Study Group Blog

Socrel, the Sociology of Religion BSA Study Group, is a successful, internationally recognised study group with a 40-year history of engaging events, and high quality research. We pride ourselves in the number and range of opportunities we provide. Every year, Socrel organises a 3-day annual conference, a Chair’s Response day, and PG-ECR events. It also holds an Essay Competition, the Peter B. Clarke Essay Prize, as well as a funding competition, the Seed Corn Funding Competition, whereby winners can be awarded up to £5000 to support the development of significant and innovative work in the Sociology of Religion. Socrel is not only an intellectual community, which welcomes PG-ECRs, academics and high-profile professors alike, but is also a pastoral and supportive group. Our PG/ECR events as well as out Mentoring Scheme for Women for instance demonstrate our engagement and commitment to support our Members. This blog will bring together specialists and non-specialists, including P