Empirical-practical studies of religion and theology

Empirical-practical studies of religion and theology is a new research discipline at the Faculty of Theology, comprising the earlier research disciplines Sociology of religion, Psychology of religion and Ecclesiology, as well as the subject areas empirical studies in worldviews and didactics of religion. A common denominator for the research discipline is the use of empirical social scientific methods for the study of religious practices. Empirical-practical studies of religion and theology visualises and problematises the relations between beliefs, experiences, learning, practices and religious organisations in contemporary society.

Within the subject area Empirical-practical studies of religion and theology doctoral studies can be applied for with two different specialisations: Sociology of religion and Practical theology. Within both doctoral students can choose a didactics of religion profile.

  • Specialisation Sociology of religion studies interaction between religiosity, worldviews and social processes at individual, group and societal levels. In focus are the dynamics between ongoing secularisation and increasing visibility of religions and religious diversity in media, civil society and political debate, as well as how class, gender, age, ethnicity and sexuality form religious identities. The specialisation includes research in the psychology of religion on meaning making, spirituality, health, acculturation and migration.
     
  • The specialisation Practical theology focuses on theological interpretation of lived practices primarily in Christian churches. In this respect the specialisation is in continuity with the previous discipline Ecclesiology. The specialisation also develops the faculty’s tradition of studies of worldviews in a broader perspective and is interested particularly in forms for belief and processing existential questions which appear outside of the framework of traditional faith communities.

The didactics of religion profile, which can be studied within the two specialisations involves a focus on learning and teaching in and about religion and worldviews in school, university or religious organisations. Central questions here are learning, proximity to praxis and religion and worldview literacy.

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