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date: 18 October 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Sociologists are concerned with the way human behaviour is patterned. They look for plausible explanations of phenomena that strike them as important due to their objective prevalence in social life. This chapter outlines the social scientific tools for studying religion, gender, and sexuality. Drawing on a range of examples from sociology of religion it explores the significance of individuals’ dispositions on the one hand and opportunities they encounter in their everyday lives on the other. The overall argument emphasizes the need for more collaboration between social scientists and theologians, or religious studies scholars. It suggests that secular sociologists would do well to consider the possibility of change in gender relations within religious contexts, and religious scholars could learn from the sociological method of inquiry to understand better the structurally determined mechanisms which make the symbolic gender order so resistant to change.

Keywords: sociological imagination, unintended consequences, gender gap in religiosity, convents, secularization, LGBT, conservative religion, symbolic violence, interdisciplinary research

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