Upcoming Events

The study group organises a number of events and activities throughout the year, these are listed on this page. If you would like to organise an event with the study group, please use the form on the Contact Us page.

  • SocRel Chair's Response Day 2016: Connecting for Change: emerging research and policy on religion and belief in the public sphere

    Friday 21st October, 10 a.m. -4 p.m.

    BSA Meeting Room, Imperial Wharf, London

    Keynote speaker: Professor Tariq Modood (University of Bristol)

    Please book here.


    10.00               Welcome

    10.05               Keynote – Prof Tariq Modood

    10.50               Coffee

    11.00               Dr Erica Howard:

    Offending religious feelings? Political rhetoric, freedom of expression and religious hate speech

    11.40               Sandra Maurer

    Beyond institutional walls: Minority Faith Networks on Campus

    12.20               Céline Benoit

    Re-imagining religion:  the case of Birmingham

    1.00                 Lunch

    1.20                 Katie Gaddini

    2.00                 Dr Andrew Orton

    2.40                 Coffee

    2.45                 Hazel Bryan and Lynn Revell

    Liquid professionalism in an age of extremism; the compromise of religion and beliefs in the public sphere

    3.25                 Jo Bryant:       

    Brokering Faith: Healthcare Chaplains as Gatekeepers of Religion (and Belief) in the National Health Service

    4.00                 END


    Lunch is provided

    The public sphere has been both prominent and turbulent in recent times, and in common with other interests and disciplines, the study of religion and belief has been exploring the questions which are raised. From the role of faith in public life, to media representations, legal cases and controversies, and the future of school RE, a plethora of research and reports has been underway which connect religion and belief with policy and practice. This event will present key examples, with an emphasis on sociology of religion, including as it connects with other disciplines, and with policy and practice.

    The goal is to explore the connections between religion and belief research, policy and the public sphere through presentations, questions and discussions. We invite proposals for papers and/or (small) panels of 40 minutes (including time for questions), which present research which has connected with - or is planned to – any aspect of policy or practice (such as education, health, housing, welfare, law, employment, politics, government and others).

    Should you have any queries about the day, please do not hesitate to contact the event organisers, Professor Adam Dinham a.dinham@gold.ac.uk or Rachael Shillitoe r.shillitoe@worc.ac.uk. For further details, visit the SocRel website: www.socrel.org.uk.  For further details about the BSA visit www.britsoc.co.uk.

  • Religion and the Media: A postgraduate and early careers training day

    Following a recent sociological interest in religion and the media, coupled with the need for academic public engagement, this year’s training workshop theme is: ‘Religion and the Media’.

    Professor Reina Lewis & Michael Wakelin

    BSA Meeting Room, Imperial Wharf, London

    Wednesday 2nd November 2016, 10am – 5pm

    In our morning session, you will have a chance to explore recent research and ethics in the field of religion and media with Professor Reina Lewis. Reina is Artscom Centenary Professor of Cultural Studies at the London College of Fashion, University of the Arts London. Her new book Muslim Fashion: Contemporary Style Cultures was published by Duke University Press in 2015. She is also author of Rethinking Orientalism: Women, Travel and the Ottoman Harem (2004), and Gendering Orientalism: Race, Femininity and Representation (1996) and is editor of a number of key texts on modest fashion, dress cultures, cultures in dialogue, feminism and post colonialism, gender and modernity, and lesbian and gay visual cultures.

    Reina is a frequent media commentator – most recently for the New York Times, BBC World, BBC Radio 4, BBC Radio1, The Guardian, The Times, Marie-Claire magazine, Elle Brazil, Businessoffashion.com, Fortune.com. Reina also convenes the public talks series Faith and Fashion at the London College of Fashion.

    In the afternoon, you will be led through a practical media engagement workshop by Michael Wakelin. Michael is a religion expert and media consultant, and until recently worked as Head of Religion and Ethics for the BBC. He is now Executive Associate in Public Education for the Faculty of Divinity, University of Cambridge, Director Coexist Programmes for Coexist House and Exec Producer TBI Media and has worked with a number of academic, policy and religious organisations.

    Registration Rates:

    BSA Members £10 // Socrel Members £15 // Non-members: £30

    Please click HERE to register for the workshop.

    Details for joining Socrel and BSA membership

    Please contact katie.socrel@gmail.com if there are any questions.

  • British Sociological Association Annual Conference 2017 Recovering the Social: Personal Troubles and Public Issues

    Manchester University

    April 4-6, 2017

    Call for Papers:

    The last few decades have seen the rise of a culture of hyper-individualism in the UK, USA and elsewhere, reversing a tentative trend towards greater social cohesion and solidarity that began to emerge in the first half of the 20th century. The current scenario has largely been driven by a political and public discourse stressing that autonomous individuals and their families are solely responsible for their own destinies, life chances, fortunes and misfortunes, on an equal footing with their ‘competitors’, a standpoint that contrasts starkly with C. Wright Mills’ famous aphorism that ‘(N)either the life of an individual nor the history of a society can be understood without understanding both’.

    Denigration of the role of the social and structural organisation in governing everyday lives and life chances has also been accompanied by a long sequence of public policy ‘reforms’, that seem tailored to increasingly favour individual greed, selfishness, discrimination and division over collective need, solidarity and empathy. Moreover, these developments have also been accompanied by the stigmatisation of various group defined as ‘other’, reducing public sympathy for those least fortunate who have lost out in the Social Darwinist competition this credo has inspired. Amongst a range of regressive developments, this has supported the dismantling of social supports that were once considered essential to both individual security and social progress.

    The broad theme of the BSA annual conference 2017, will consider how we might explore and challenge misrepresentations of the relationship between the personal and the public realm, while focusing upon the myriad ways in which social arrangements govern our lives, including the various ways in which inequitable social arrangements constrain the life chances of the marginalised, in terms of class, race, ethnicity, disability and gender. We are interested in papers that speak to the personal as well as the public, and those that link both


    SocRel Stream Plenary Speakers: Professor Jolyon Mitchell, Dr Abby Day & Dr Jasjit Singh

    Professor Jolyon Mitchell’s research and teaching focuses on: Religion, Violence and Peacebuilding with particular reference to the arts (e.g. film, theatre, radio, visual arts as well as other new and old media). He has written and published extensively in these and related areas (e.g. the uses of different media arts in promoting peace and inciting violence; Communication Ethics; Theology & the Arts; Media, Religion and Culture; Memory, History and Religion). Jolyon has worked as a producer and journalist for BBC World Service and BBC Radio 4 before he was appointed to the University of Edinburgh.

    Dr Abby Day is Reader in Race, Faith and Culture in the Department of Sociology, Goldsmiths, University of London, where her teaching, research, writing and supervisions cover sociology of religion, media and religion, and critical criminology. Past Chair of the Sociology of Religion Study group in the British Sociological Association, her work focuses on gender, generation and improving the academic and public understanding of complex religious and non-religious identities.

    Dr Jasjit Singh is a Research Fellow in Religious and Cultural Transmission based at the University of Leeds and a recognised expert on Sikhs in Britain. His research examines religious identity and processes of religious and cultural transmission among British South Asians with a focus on British Sikhs. His research interests include Religion and Youth, Religion and Media, Religious Identity, Sikh Studies and Religion in Diaspora.

    Abstract Submission Deadline: 14 October 2016

    Abstract submission link: https://www.britsoc.co.uk/events/key-bsa-events/bsa-annual-conference/submissions/

    *** All submissions wishing to be considered within the Sociology of Religion stream must have SOCREL in capital letters at the top of your abstract ***

    For further information contact the Sociology of Religion stream coordinator:  Rachael Shillitoe. Email: r.shillitoe@worc.ac.uk or the BSA events team events@britsoc.org.uk

  • Sociology of Religion Study Group (SocRel) Annual Conference 2017

    On the Edge? Centres and Margins in the Sociology of Religion

    Wednesday 12th July – Friday 14th July 2017

    University of Leeds


    Keynote Speakers:

    Professor Bryan Turner (City University of New York)

    Professor Kim Knott (University of Lancaster)

    Professor Philip Mellor (University of Leeds)

    (Two further keynotes, TBC)


    The Sociology of Religion, as a distinct sub-discipline, has had a complex relationship with ‘mainstream’ sociology including experiencing periods of centrality and marginalisation. Beginning as a chief concern of the founding fathers of the discipline, but later relegated to almost insignificance until the so-called ‘resurgence of religion’, these changing fortunes have contributed directly to scholarship that can be dynamic, multi-faceted and responsive. In our search to understand the roles for religion in contemporary society, as scholars we frequently draw on multi-disciplinary methodologies and share a disciplinary platform with geography, politics, social policy, theology, anthropology, history and literature, to name but a few.  But where does this leave the sociology of religion as a distinct discipline?

    The purpose of this conference is to investigate the boundaries and borders of sociologies of religion in an expansive and inclusive way. We want to ask, what do the centres of the sociology of religion look like in the 21st Century, and where are the margins and borders? Where are the new, and innovative subjects, methodologies and collaborations in our subject and how are they shaping the discipline?  How well do Sociologies of Religion intersect with other sociologies, such as of class, migration, ethnicity, sexuality and gender, and what are the effects? What about the geographical centres and margins of this historically Western-orientated sub-discipline, in our ever-changing world characterised by postcoloniality, globalisation and transnationalism? To what extent have any alternative Sociologies of Religion from the “edge”, to use a term proposed by Bender et al (2013), re-interpreted or re-configured the concerns of the centre? Importantly, what light does the Sociology of Religion shed on the more general study of centres and margins in religious and social settings/institutions and identities/subjectivities? Ultimately we want to question where these expansive and multi-directional boundaries leave us as ‘sociologists of religion’ and as a distinct study group and highlight the challenges and the opportunities.

    We invite you to engage in these conference questions from your particular area of research.

    To deliver a paper, please send an abstract of no more than 250 words, alongside a biographical note of no more than 50 words. We will also be accepting a limited number of panel proposals. To deliver a panel, please send an abstract of no more than 500 words alongside a biographical note of no more than 50 words for each contributor.

    Please send abstracts to the attention of the conference organizers: Dr Caroline Starkey (University of Leeds) and Dr Jasjit Singh (University of Leeds) at socrel2017@gmail.com

    Abstracts must be submitted by 9th December 2016.

    Conference Bursaries:

    A limited number of bursaries are available to support postgraduate, early career, low income or unwaged SocRel members to present at the conference. Please visit www.socrel.org.uk for instructions, and to download an application form, and submit your bursary application along with your abstract by 9th December 2016.

    All presenters must be members of SocRel.

    Selected authors will be asked to contribute to an edited volume.


    Key Dates:

    Abstract submission: Open now

    Early bird registration opens: 3rd October 2016

    Abstract submission closes: 9th December 2016

    Decision notification: 20th January 2017

    Presenter registration closes: 10th March 2017

    Early bird registration closes:  2nd June 2017

    Registration closes: 24 June 2016


    Please note that after Friday, 2nd June 2017, a £50 late registration fee will apply to all bookings.

    Should you have other questions about the conference please also contact the conference organisers, Dr Caroline Starkey (University of Leeds) and Dr Jasjit Singh (University of Leeds) at socrel2017@gmail.com.

    For further details, visit the SocRel website: www.socrel.org.uk. For further details about the BSA visit www.britsoc.co.uk.