2021 SSSR Presidential Address: Religion as Social Location—Global and Comparative Perspectives

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

I argue that scholarship in the social scientific study of religion and its paradigms continue to be focused on the United States and Christianity, particularly on white U.S. Christians. This means that theoretical frameworks in the field tend to be limited and “parochial,” largely ignoring non-U.S., non-white, and non-Christian contexts. I call for scholars to develop a global and comparative perspective on religion and to also examine its impacts on other dimensions of social life. To show how this can be done, I outline an argument about religion as social location, drawing from my research on five religious traditions (Hinduism, Christianity, Islam, Sikhism, and Buddhism) in three countries (India, the United States, and Canada). I demonstrate how religious background can shape social and structural location within societies and globally, in turn, affecting the manifestations of religion and how religion is imbricated with other dimensions of social life.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5-20
Number of pages16
JournalJournal for the Scientific Study of Religion
Volume61
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2022
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • perspectives
  • presidential address
  • social location

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Religious studies

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