Welcome to Scribd, the world's digital library. Read, publish, and share books and documents. See more
Download
Standard view
Full view
of .
Save to My Library
Look up keyword
Like this
1Activity
0 of .
Results for:
No results containing your search query
P. 1
Religion

Religion

Ratings: (0)|Views: 11 |Likes:
Published by yogita

More info:

Categories:Types, Research, Genealogy
Published by: yogita on Apr 15, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

Availability:

Read on Scribd mobile: iPhone, iPad and Android.
download as PDF, TXT or read online from Scribd
See more
See less

04/15/2011

pdf

text

original

 
Is Sociology the Core Discipline for the Scientific Study of Religion?Author(s): Christopher G. Ellison and Darren E. SherkatSource:
Social Forces,
Vol. 73, No. 4 (Jun., 1995), pp. 1255-1266Published by:
Stable URL:
Accessed: 31/08/2010 04:58
Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of JSTOR's Terms and Conditions of Use, available athttp://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp. JSTOR's Terms and Conditions of Use provides, in part, that unlessyou have obtained prior permission, you may not download an entire issue of a journal or multiple copies of articles, and youmay use content in the JSTOR archive only for your personal, non-commercial use.Please contact the publisher regarding any further use of this work. Publisher contact information may be obtained athttp://www.jstor.org/action/showPublisher?publisherCode=uncpress.Each copy of any part of a JSTOR transmission must contain the same copyright notice that appears on the screen or printedpage of such transmission.JSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a wide range of content in a trusted digital archive. We use information technology and tools to increase productivity and facilitate new formsof scholarship. For more information about JSTOR, please contact support@jstor.org.
University of North Carolina Press
is collaborating with JSTOR to digitize, preserve and extend access to
Social Forces.
http://www.jstor.org
 
IsSociology the Core Disciplinefor the ScientificStudy of Religion?*
CHRISrOPHERG.ELLISON,
Universityof Texasat Austin
DARRENE.SHERKAT,
VanderbiltUniversity
AbstractWearguehatsociologyhouldbe thentegrative isciplineorthescientific tudyofreligion. Sociologyhas made considerablerogressby incorporatingpecializedknowledge f religion rom disciplines anging rom gerontology nd communitypsychologyoreligious conomics,hurch istory, ndeven heology. ociologyasalso generatednsightsn otherdisciplinesoncerned ith thestudyof religion,t timesshapinghetypesof questions sked,heconceptsndresearchethodsmployed,ndtheconclusionseachedntheseields. To elaborateur arguments, efocus on twoimportantubstantivereas:1)researchn therelationshipsetweeneligion,meaning systems,ndpersonalwell-being; nd(2)researchnreligiousehaviornd religious markets.We underscorehentegrativeoleof sociology,nddentify everal eglectedopportunitiesor synthesis.naddition, riefly ssess heeffect f sociology n work notherdisciplinesndon the unctioning f religious rganizations. We canexpect controversy among sociologistsover thepropositionthatsociologyis ascience, and certainly herewillbe even lessagreementwith thecontention thatsociologyisthe centraldisciplinefor the scientificstudyofhuman behavior.Criticsof this thesis will turn to featuresof sociallife whichseemdiosyncraticrinexplicable hroughherationalcientificenterprise,ndreligiousbehaviors one such feature.Lessthoughtfulcriticspokefun at thetitleof aleading specialtyjournal,heJournalortheScientific tudyof Religion,as anoxymoron, suggestingthat whatever thestatus ofthedisciplineofsociologyas ascience,thesociologyofreligionwould notqualify.In thisarticle,wewillarguethatsociologyshould be consideredtheintegrativedisciplinefor the scientificstudyofreligion.Our task is somewhatdifferent romthoseofthe othercontributors,ecause unliketheotherfieldsrepresentedhere(e.g., biology, psychology), "religion"perse is neitheranexplanatoryscience"oraclearlydelineatedcademicdiscipline.Sociologyhas
*
WethankWalterRI Cove andJeffreyS.Levinor helpfulcomments.Direct correspondenceto ChristopherG. Ellison,DepartmentofSociology, 336BurdineHall,University of TexasatAustin, Austin,TX 78712-1088.i)TheUniversityof North CarolinaPress SocialForces, June 1995, 73(4):1255-1266
 
1256 / Social Forces 73:4, June 1995
achievedconsiderableprogresso dateby incorporating pecializedknowledgeof religion from disciplinesranging rom gerontologyand communitypsycho- logytoreligious economics,churchhistory,and eventheology. While muchworkremainstosynthesizetheseinsights,we believethat thefoundations orexplainingreligiousbehaviorand theimpactofreligiononindividualand sociallife arealready quite strong. Further, ociologyhas alsogenerated nsightsinother disciplinesconcerned withthestudyofreligion,at timesshapingthetypesofquestionsasked,theconceptsand researchmethodsemployed,and theconclusionsreachedn thesefields.To developthesearguments,we focuson twoimportantubstantiveareas:(1)research on therelationshipsbetweenreligion, meaning systems,andpersonal well-being;and(2)researchonreligiousbehaviorand markets.Ourreview of each ofthese areas underscores hedistinctively ntegrativerole ofsociology and identifiesseveralneglected opportunitiesforsynthesis. Inaddition,we brieflyassess the effect ofsociologyonworkinother disciplines,and theimpact of sociologyon thefunctioningofreligious organizations.Religion, Meaningand PersonalWell-beingAgrowingliteratureeportshat conventionaleligiousnvolvemente.g.,reli-gious attendanceanddevotion)ispositivelyassociatedwith life satisfaction,personal happiness, physical health,andlongevity,andinverselyassociatedwith depressionand other undesirablepsychosocialstates(seeLevin1994).Drawingoninsightsfromepidemiology, psychiatry,gerontology,and otherfields, sociologicalresearch indicates thatreligiousinvolvementpromotesmental andphysical well-beingin at least four distinctways: (1) by shapingbehaviorpatternsandlifestylesinwaysthat reduceexposureto certainsocialstressorse.g.,illnessand seriousaccidents,maritaldisruption); 2) by generat-ingsocial resourcesandsocialsupport; (3) by enhancing psychologicalresources, particularly positive self-regard (i.e., self-esteem);and(4) byproviding specific cognitiveframeworks orcopingwith stress(seeEllison1994). However,someaspectsofreligiousbelief andparticipationcanalsounderminewell-being by exacerbatingocial stressors and theireffects, byerodingpositive self-regard,ndby encouraging nappropriaterself-defeatingcoping strategies.
RELIGIONAND SOCIALSTRESSORS
As classicalsociologists recognized, religiousinstitutions and beliefsoftenconstrain ndividualconduct navarietyofways.Forexample,epidemiologistsindicatehatsomereligiousgroupspromotepositive healthbehaviorse.g.,diet)anddiscourage negative practices (e.g.,alcohol and substanceabuse).Thecriminologicalliteratureindicates thatreligiousinvolvement reducesthecommissionofarangeof deviant behaviors.Familyresearchershaveshownthatcertainreligiousvalues arerelated opositivemaritalandintergenerationalrelationships.Theseand otherfmdings suggestthatreligious communitiesfrequently promotebehaviorpatterns that lower the risk of various socialstressors.

You're Reading a Free Preview

Download
/*********** DO NOT ALTER ANYTHING BELOW THIS LINE ! ************/ var s_code=s.t();if(s_code)document.write(s_code)//-->