Oct 19

Socrel Annual Conference – Construction and disruption: The power of religion in the public sphere

Sociology of Religion Study Group (SocRel) Annual Conference
Tuesday 12th – Thursday 14th July 2016
Lancaster University


Keynote speakers
Professor Lori Beaman (University of Ottowa)
Professor Gordon Lynch (Kent University)
Professor Robert Beckford (Canterbury Christ Church University)
Dr Abby Day (Goldsmiths and Kent University)
Dr Shuruq Naguib (Lancaster University)

The last twenty years has seen a crisis of trust in major public institutions, from politics and media, to banking, to health, social care and education. Alongside this crisis has been a renewed visibility of religion in society, with religions often offering critical but contentious voices, as well as being key but contested contributors to political activism and welfare service delivery.

In this context, prominent theorists such as Jürgen Habermas, Slavov Zizek, Charles Taylor and Manuel Vásquez have suggested that religion may hold the key to reenergising the public sphere. Yet religions are just as often seen as disruptive, as engulfed in similar crises of trust, as undermining shared values, or as presenting challenging practices. With societies now becoming more secular, more religious and more plural all at once, claims abound that one group or another is being favoured or presents a threat. This tension is further complicated by contested developments in the understanding of religion: some scholars have broadened the category of religion to include ostensibly secular ideas and practices; others have suggested that religions are acting less like states, with large bureaucracies and loyal citizens, and more like markets that cater to consumers, with belief less likely to be based on dogma than modes of belonging or self-expression; others still suggest that future success for religions will require greater recognition of ethnic minorities, women and LGBT communities.

The purpose of the conference is to examine these and other characteristics of contemporary religion in order to achieve a greater understanding of its constructive and disruptive impact in the public sphere. What are the key categories, discourses, contexts and institutions through which this question can be explored? How do practitioners navigate these characteristics?

Registration to attend the conference is now open. To register please click HERE. Please note that after Friday, 3 June 2016, a £50 late registration fee will apply to all bookings.


Upcoming dates

Presenter registration closes: 30 April 2016 (Please note presenters must be members of SocRel)

Early bird registration closes:  10 June 2016

Registration closes: 30 June 2016


Tuesday, July 12, 2016

12.00 Registration and Lunch

13.30 Welcome

13.45 Keynote Plenary Session 1: Professor Lori Beaman (University of Ottawa)

15.00 Refreshments

15.30 Parallel Sessions

18.00 Dinner

19.15 Keynote Plenary Session 2: Professor Gordon Lynch (Kent University)

20:30 Cocktail Reception


Wednesday, July 13, 2016

08.15 Breakfast

09.00 Parallel Sessions

11.00 Refreshments

11.30 Keynote Plenary Session 3: Professor Robert Beckford (Canterbury Christ Church University)

12.45 Lunch

13.30 SocRel Annual General Meeting

14.30 Parallel Sessions

16.30 Refreshments

17.00 Keynote Plenary Session 4: Dr Shuruq Naguib (Lancaster University)

18.30 Wine Reception

19.15 Gala Dinner


Thursday, July 14, 2016

08.15 Breakfast

09.15 Parallel Session

11.15 Refreshments

11.30 Keynote Plenary Session 5: Dr Abby Day (Kent University and Goldsmiths)

12.45 Close of Conference

13.00 Lunch