This expanded second edition of The Sociology of Religion provides a clear and comprehensive discussion of theoretical perspectives in relation to a wide range of substantive issues illustrating the diversity of religion. Offering a broad comparative view, Malcolm Hamilton draws on the insights of history, anthropology and sociology, surveying classic and contemporary theory to give a full picture of the variety and scope and how they relate to particular beliefs and practices. Inclusion of current debates and research findings bring this edition fully up to date in every respect. The chapters on secularisation and religious sects and movements have, in particular, been extended to incorporate recent work and developments. Both include fuller consideration of the contributions of rational choice theorists and their critics on questions such as the relationship between religious pluralism and conditions prevailing in the religious 'market place'.
The chapter on sects and movements, which includes a new section on conversion, provides an extended discussion of earlier work on the nature of sectarianism as well as new insights that studies of a diverse range of religious and related movements have generated.
Malcolm Hamilton is Senior Lecturer in the Department of Sociology at the University of Reading. Other publications include Sociology and the World's Religions, Democratic Socialism in Britain and Sweden and Class and Inequality in Comparative Perspective.