THE RETURN OF RELIGIOUS SOCIOLOGY RACHAEL L. E. KOHN INTRODUCTION The title of this paper is perhaps misleading, for it might be argued that, either explicitly or implicitly, religious sociology never left the discipline. There has been, however, a discernible rise in its popularity among sociologists of religion in the last few years, enough that Franz H. Mueller, President Emeritus of the Association for the Sociology of Religion, recently warned in a letter to its members that "there is NO such thing as Catholic or Christian sociology, and that we can serve our highest ideals best if we do a good job as genuine sociologists ..." (Mueller 1988: 8). The inclusion of this letter in the ASR newsletter suggests its importance as an issue in the discipline, but it also comes after the election to the editorship of the Association's journal, an avowed supporter of religious sociology, William Swatos (1987). This issue has already shown its divisive potential within the discipline, although there have been few direct challenges to it in recent literature. This paper proposes to give an historical overview of what amounts to a revival of a 19th century movement in the sociology of religion. Of
Method & Theory in the Study of Religion – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 1989
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