The potential of visual research methods in the sociology of religion is vast, but largely untapped. This comes as a surprise, however, given the visual, symbolic, and material nature of religion and spirituality. Evidence of religious faith and practice is materially present in everything from clothing and jewelry to artifacts found in people's homes and workplaces. Not only is religion's symbolic and material presence palpable throughout society, it also informs attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors of countless people worldwide. Words-and-numbers approaches to social research, however, sometimes miss important dimensions of religion and spirituality in the contemporary world. Seeing Religion is an invitation to a visual sociology of religion. Contributors draw from their current research to discuss the application of visual methods to the study of religion and spirituality. Each chapter stimulates the sociological imagination through examples of research techniques, analytical approaches, and methodological concerns.
Roman R. Williams is Assistant Professor of Sociology at Calvin College.
1. Visual Sociology and the Sociology of Religion, Roman R. Williams 2. Exploring an Urban Ecology: Spatial approaches to studying social contrasts along Germantown Avenue, Katie Day 3. Mapping Congregational Responses to Re-urbanization and Gentrification, Mark T. Mulder 4. Seeing Islam in Global Cities: A Spatial Semiotic Analysis, Jerome Krase and Timothy Shortell 5. Religoius Symbols on Rear-View Mirrors: Displays of faith or hopes of safe travel?, Anders Vassenden and Mette Andersson 6. From Backstage to Front: The role of the vestry in managing clergy self-presentation, Philip Richter 7. Visual Experiencing and Communicating: Visual sociology as a truly comprehensive experience, Roberto Cipriani and Emanuela C. Del Re 8. Videographic Analysis of Religious and Secular Rituals: Examples from a study on the International Holocaust Remembrance Day, Bernt Schnettler, Alejandro Baer, and Marlen Rabl 9.Visual Ethics, Feminist Ethnography, and the Study of Holocaust Memorialization, Janet Jacobs 10. Reconfiguring Stained Glass: Religion, domestic violence, and visual engagement, Catherine Holtmann and Nancy Nason-Clark 11. Why Study Religion Visually?, Roman R. Williams