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.

  • BSA Annual Conference 2016 - Global Societies: Fragmenting and Connecting
    Aston University, April 6-8 2016

    This year’s BSA Annual Conference explores the changes and transformations that have taken place across the globe, from the financial crisis to political upheavals. This conference is an opportunity for sociologists to question how we best understand such developments and what opportunities sociology has to contribute to policy making and public discussion on such subjects

    Stream Plenary: Professor Grace Davie & Professor Yvette Taylor

    Grace Davie is professor emeritus in the Sociology of Religion at the University of Exeter and a senior advisor to the Impact of Religion Research Programme at Uppsala University. She is a past-president of the American Association for the Sociology of Religion (2003) and of the Research Committee 22 (Sociology of Religion) of the International Sociological Association (2002 -06). Professor Davie’s research interests lie in the sociology of religion, with a particular emphasis on patterns of religion in Europe. She is the author of Religion in Britain since 1945 (Blackwell 1994), Religion in Modern Europe (OUP 2000), Europe: the Exceptional Case (DLT 2002), and The Sociology of Religion (Sage 2007/2013).

    Professor Yvette Taylor is Professor of Education, University of Strathclyde and was previously Head of the Weeks Centre for Social and Policy Research at London South Bank University (2011-2014). She received the Lillian Robinson Fellowship, Concordia University, Canada (2009) and a Fulbright Scholarship, Rutgers University (2010-2011). Yvette has obtained a wide variety of competitive research funding, including from the Economic and Social Research Council, the British Academy and the Higher Education Academy, including projects on ‘Making Space for Queer Identifying Religious Youth’ (2011-2013) and the British Academy mid-career fellowship Critical Terrain: Dividing Lines and Lives (2013-2014).

    For further information contact the Sociology of Religion stream coordinator:
    Rachel Shillitoe. Email: r.shillitoe@worc.ac.uk
    Alternatively, contact the BSA Events Team. Email: events@britsoc.org.uk

  • SocRel Response Day 2015: The Future of Learning about Religion and Belief

    Thursday 5th November 2015, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

    BSA Meeting Room, Imperial Wharf, London

    Lunch is provided

    The 2015 SocRel Response Study Day will explore the future of learning about religion and belief. The symposium is organised by SocRel, the BSA Sociology of Religion Study Group.

    For registration please click HERE.

    Speakers include: Professor Robert Jackson (Warwick University), Dr Matthew Francis (Lancaster University), Martha Shaw (Goldsmiths). More speakers will be announced soon.

    In light of the continued focus on learning about religion, not just in schools but also in wider society, the SocRel response day will explore the future of learning about religion and belief from a variety of perspectives, reflecting not only on what the future might hold, but also considering what knowledge we need for encountering religion in the modern world today.

    Despite the long held assumption that we live in an increasingly secular society, the continued presence and visibility of religion in both the public and private sphere means that religion is still as significant and important as ever. As we encounter religion in everyday spaces and places throughout our lives, understanding and awareness about faith traditions is necessary for all sorts of professions, sectors and organisations. However, after decades of silence on the subject, many are lacking this essential knowledge. This coupled with suspicion and anxiety about religion, fuelled by media outlets and political agendas, means that we are increasingly ill-equipped to talk about religion comfortably and confidently in our daily lives.

    In an increasingly diverse and multi faith society, it is vital that we have the necessary knowledge to understand the various faiths and religious practices in our world. Religion permeates most if not all areas of life and cannot be simply syphoned out or compartmentalised. As such we need to have insight and awareness about religion for everyday life situations and this learning should not start and finish in schools; we need a continued education. But what expertise do we need and how should we learn about this? Would a social worker need to know the same as a lawyer? Is ‘religious talk’ the same in politics as it is in business? And if we are to have different levels or types of ‘religious literacy’, how do we ensure accuracy and consistency within such learning schemes?

    The SocRel response day aims to consider this through a series of presentations and plenary discussions, covering a range of topics related to the future of learning about religion and belief. The day will be highly participative and engaged. The symposium will be organised as a single stream so that the day is as much about discussion as it is about presentation.

    Costs: BSA Member £36; SocRel Member £41; Non-member £46; BSA concessionary £15; SocRel concessionary £20; Non-member concessionary £25

    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

  • Call for Papers: 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?

    The conference welcomes a wide range of topics relating to religion in society and hopes to encourage a space where different faith perspectives can come together.

    Possible topics could include (but are not limited to) the following:

    •           Religion constructing or disrupting the public sphere

    •           Religion and politics

    •           Religion and media

    •           Religion and economics

    •           Religion and health and social care

    •           Religion and education


    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: Emily Winter (Lancaster University), Dr Roger Haydon Mitchell (Lancaster University), Dr Anderson Jeremiah (Lancaster University) and Tim Stacey (Goldsmiths) at: socrel2016@gmail.com

    Abstracts must be submitted by 11 December 2015. Bursaries are available for postgraduate/low income or unwaged/early career scholars, please follow this link for more information. For further details, visit the Socrel website: www.socrel.org.uk. For further details about the BSA visit www.britsoc.co.uk.

    All presenters must be members of Socrel.

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


    Key Dates:

    Abstract submission opens: 12 October 2015

    Early bird registration opens: 12 October 2015

    Abstract submission closes: 11 December 2015

    Decision notification: 27 January 2016

    Presenter registration closes: 15 March 2016

    Early bird registration closes:  3 June 2016

    Registration closes: 24 June 2016


    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.