Religion in Modern and Post Modern Societies

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The details
Sociology and Criminology
Colchester Campus
Undergraduate: Level 6
Monday 13 January 2025
Friday 21 March 2025
08 November 2019


Requisites for this module



Key module for


Module description

The aim of this course is to give an understanding of the causes and consequences of religiosity and secularization in the modern and post-modern societies. It further focuses on the importance of institutional religions around the world and on discussions on religious revitalization.

In the first four lectures, work on religion of the big three, Marx, Comte and Weber and the impact of their ideas on the secularization theories will be discussed. One lecture will be dedicated to the causes and consequences of religiosity and fading of the importance of religion in the affluent Western societies. Students will try to find an answer for why religion still survives while all influential sociologists assumed that it would die out with rationalization, industrialization and modernization. Furthermore, the last three lectures will dig into the meaning and importance of religion in migrant groups - especially Muslims -, in the non-Western world and in Britain.

In the classes of this module, students will discuss their readings and will do little assignments, which will help them to interpret religious events in their social environment, in the newspapers and media. Students will need to do a take-home assignment about their readings each week and this will contribute to their overall module mark. The students will obtain skills to develop their own research question on religion and they will be required to write a paper on this research question for their course assignment. To this end, this module will spend a significant time on discussing not only theories but also methodologies and data used in the research that will be discussed throughout the course.

Module aims

The module will explore one of the dominant themes of anthropology – the intercultural encounter. It will expose students to some iconic essays, diaries and reports produced by those who venture out of their own societies to discover, explore or study other peoples and places. In particular, it will analyse how these writings illuminate perceptions of peoples, cultures and places, and how these become assembled into various orders of knowledge. We will examine a range of intercultural understandings and perceptions put forward in travelers’ reports, missionaries diaries, and the accounts of indigenous peoples themselves. These often occur in very tense or ‘dangerous’ circumstances.

Module learning outcomes

This module hopes to shows how the depictions of other societies can take many different forms; pejorative, judgmental, uncomprehending, but also empathic and even ‘romantic.’ These, however,Such depictions can be used to justify particular policies and courses of action towards peoples and their natural environments.

One of the most important objectives of the module is to examine how the self and the other are constituted in intercultural encounters, mostly in the Americas in a range of different places at different times in hostory. We will focus on primary source materials with additional film screenings.

Module information

List of Lectures
WEEK 1: Introduction to religion of sociology
WEEK 2: Early secularization theories
WEEK 3: Supply and demand side theories of religion
WEEK 4: Secularization theories for post-industrial societies revisited
WEEK 5: Writing a research proposal on religion - methods and theory
WEEK 6: Religion as determinant and consequence
WEEK 7: Religion in migrant communities
WEEK 8: Religion in the non-Western world
WEEK 9: Religion in Britain

Learning and teaching methods



This module does not appear to have a published bibliography.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Coursework weighting

Exam format definitions

  • Remote, open book: Your exam will take place remotely via an online learning platform. You may refer to any physical or electronic materials during the exam.
  • In-person, open book: Your exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer to any physical materials such as paper study notes or a textbook during the exam. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, open book (restricted): The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer only to specific physical materials such as a named textbook during the exam. Permitted materials will be specified by your department. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, closed book: The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may not refer to any physical materials or electronic devices during the exam. There may be times when a paper dictionary, for example, may be permitted in an otherwise closed book exam. Any exceptions will be specified by your department.

Your department will provide further guidance before your exams.

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
100% 0%


Coursework Exam
100% 0%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Prof Ayse Guveli, email:
Dr Ayse Guveli
Jane Harper, Student Administrator, Telephone: 01206 873052 E-mail:



External examiner

No external examiner information available for this module.
Available via Moodle
Of 20 hours, 20 (100%) hours available to students:
0 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
0 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s).


Further information
Sociology and Criminology

* Please note: due to differing publication schedules, items marked with an asterisk (*) base their information upon the previous academic year.

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