In Society, Spirituality, and the Sacred, Swenson draws on both Weber's Charisma and Routinization of Charisma and Thomas O'Dea's Dilemmas of the Institutionalization of Religion to reveal how religion has both a positive and negative effect on people. Moving from the individual experience of the sacred to the more institutional religious experience, the book explores the many manifestations of religious life and offers a synthesis of folk religions, new religions, the New Age Movement, and the challenges posed by the secularization of contemporary life. This approach to studying the sociology of religion offers a more challenging and provocative opportunity for students compared to other texts on the market. The second edition has been thoroughly revised and updated to integrate the latest developments in the field and to offer a more global approach to the study of religion. New chapters on women and religion and new religious movements have been added and discussions of Islam, indigenous religions and postmodernism have been significantly expanded.
Donald S. Swenson is a Professor of Sociology at Mount Royal College, Calgary. He holds a degree in theology from the University of Ottawa and a PhD in sociology from Notre Dame University. He has taught, researched, and written on the sociology of religion for over twenty years.
Acknowledgements List of Figures Part One: World Views, Social Boundaries, Religious Experiences, and Institutions 1. The Definitional and Theoretical Bases for the Social Scientific Study of Religion 2. Religious Experience 3. Religious Experience and Social Institutions Part Two: The Dilemmas in the Institutionalization of Religion 4. The Dilemma of Interpretation: Religion as a World View: The Study of Mythologies 5. The Dilemma of Mixed Motivation: The Study of Sacred Leadership 6. The Dilemmas of Interpretation and Mixed Motivation: The Study of Women as Leaders 7. The Symbolic Dilemma: The Study of Ritual 8. The Dilemma of Administrative Order: The Rise of Sacred Organizations 9. The Dilemma of Delimitation: The Study of Ethos 10. The Relationship Between Religion and Politics, Part One: Casearopapism and Hierocracy 11. The Relationship Between Religion and Politics, Part Two: Alternative Links Part Three: Linking Religion to Other Institutions 12. Religions and the Economy 13. The Encounter With Culture: Secularization and Postmodernism Conclusion Glossary References "