Sociology of Religion

Research within sociology of religion studies religion as a social phenomenon. Our focus at the department in Uppsala University is on the interaction between religion and social processes on an individual-, group- and societal level. We seek to understand religion in contemporary society from the experiences and practices of different groups of people rather than dogmatic systems and canonic texts.

From a historical perspective the relation between modernization and secularization has been a core issue for studies within sociology of religion. Ongoing social and cultural changes such as globalization, mediatization and increasing religious and cultural diversity calls for a more complex understanding of religious change. This implies that research in sociology of religion must broaden its scope from studying Christian churches and denominations to include religions such as Islam and Judaism, as well as new arenas such as welfare, media, the education system and politics. A key issue is how social variables such as class, gender, age, ethnicity and sexuality affect processes and tendencies of religious change. The dynamic interplay between discursive and social structures shaping these variables constitutes an important analytical framework.

Sociology of religion has a clear empirical approach using methods from the social sciences, such as surveys, interviews and various forms of text analysis including media material.

Research within sociology of religion at the faculty of theology in Uppsala has a strong tradition of externally funded research projects, which often involve international cooperation. Professors, lecturers and doctoral students actively participate in Nordic and International research projects, organizations and conferences as well as in social, political and cultural policy work and debate. As a result, research produced in Uppsala is well in line with the forefront of international research in the field. During the period 2013-2018 a large portion of our research is being carried out within the multidisciplinary Linneaus research program The Impact of religion: Challenges for Society, Law and Democracy ( and in close cooperation with the Uppsala Religion and Society Research Center (

From 2013-2016 our research will be focusing on three research programs, which are presented below. A more extensive presentation of sociology of religion as a research area and of current research can be found under "Forskningsprogram".