Document Title

The Sociology of Religion in a Post-Colonial Era: Towards Theoretical Reflexivity

Department/School

Sociology and Anthropology

Abstract

This article makes two points. First, it argues that sociology, like all knowledge, is shaped, though not determined, by its historical-cultural origins. Early sociology arose in 19th-century Europe and its core concepts were shaped by that era—both in what they reveal about society and what they hide. We now realize this, so we sociologists of religion need to examine our inherited concepts to understand those concepts’ limitations. We also need to include an analysis of the way the current historical-cultural situation shapes sociology today. This is the theoretical reflexivity called for in the title. Second, the article argues that expanding sociology’s conceptual canon to include insights from other historical-cultural locations is more than just an ethical matter. It is also epistemological. Sociology does not make progress unless it includes insights from as many standpoints as possible. This does not mean that all insights are equal. It does mean that all have the potential to improve sociological understanding. Whether or not they actually do so is a matter for the scientific process to decide.

Document Type

Article

Publication Title

Religions

Publication Date

12-28-2018

Volume

10

Issue

1

Pages

18

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

10.3390/rel10010018

Comments

Religions is an open-access journal. Click the link to view the full article.

Document Version

Publisher's version

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

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