module specification

SS6063 - Religion and the State (2017/18)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2017/18
Module title Religion and the State
Module level Honours (06)
Credit rating for module 15
School School of Social Sciences
Total study hours 150
105 hours Guided independent study
45 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 100%   Essay: case study, 3,500 words
Running in 2017/18
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Autumn semester North Thursday Morning

Module summary

This module will provide students with an opportunity to engage with contemporary debates on the relationship between religion and the state. Students will be required to critically examine the ideas of the classic and contemporary social scientists on religion and explore the application of their ideas to an ever-changing world. Overall, the aim of the module is to develop the students’ capacity to utilise social scientific concepts and perspectives in their analyses of religion in contemporary society. The disciplinary focus of the module will, initially, be the sociology of religion. The application of a range of social scientific approach will also be introduced - historical, political, economic and social psychological approaches.

Module aims

A1 - The principal aim of this module is to provide students with an opportunity to engage with contemporary social scientific thinking and current debates on the nature and role of religion in society today. This entails developing an advanced social scientific understanding of some of the key sociological approaches to the study of religion today.
A2 - In particular, it is intended that students appreciate the changing nature of social scientific, especially sociological and political, conceptions of religion.
A3 - The module also places a strong emphasis on developing the students’ capacity to utilise theoretical ideas to explore and examine the relationship between religion and the state


Defining Religion: Social Science Approach
The Enlightenment Legacy
Religion and the State
Religious Identity
Protest and Control
Religion and Social Divisions
Sects, Cults and New Religious Movements
Religious Fundamentalism
Civic Religion

Learning and teaching

The teaching and learning strategy for this module is intended to stimulate the student’s interest in and knowledge of issues and debates on religion and the social sciences. Delivery is through a combination of lectures, seminars, tutorials, case studies and workshops allowing students to be actively involved in the learning process and develop their own learning style. The lecture programme provides the underpinning theoretical foundation in the subject area and thinking skills are developed through complementary activities including case studies, workshops, seminars and tutorials. Students are expected to complement formal teaching with self directed reading and completion of specified assignments. The module will also promote the student’s self management and a reflective approach to their learning. Teaching and learning is integrated with the assessment and in accordance with the Faculty learning and teaching strategy. Students will also be given opportunities to use appropriate resources and technology available.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module students will be able to:
LO1 – describe a range of classic and contemporary sociological perspectives on religion.
LO2 – Apply a range of criticism to contemporary sociological conceptions and analyses of religion - thereby reflecting their ability to think critically.
LO3 – produce and effectively communicate an application of a sociological perspective on religion in society today.
LO4 – Appraise social scientific perspectives on religion in relation to their application to ‘real world’ contexts.

Assessment strategy

The assessment to be used in this module has been chosen to test the specified learning outcomes and to support students’ different learning styles. Students are to be assessed through a Case Study (100%) 3500 words– designed to assess the ability to apply their knowledge of the sociology of religion.


Aldridge, A. (2007) Religion in the Contemporary World – A Sociological Introduction, Polity Press
Almond, G., Appleby, R. S., Sivan, E. (2003). Strong Religion: The Rise of Fundamentalisms around the World, University of Chicago Press.
Beyer, P. (2006) Religion in a Global Society. Routledge
Bellah, R. (1991) Beyond Belief, UCL Press
Bruce, S. (2002) God is Dead – Secularization in the West, Blackwell
Bruce, S. (2003) Politics & Religion, Polity Press
Davie, G. (2007) The Sociology of Religion, Sage
Hamilton, M. (2001) The Sociology of Religion: Theoretical and Comparative Perspectives. Second Edition, Routledge
Joas, H., and K. W. Wiegandt (eds.) (2009). Secularization and the World Religions, Liverpool University Press
Martin, D. (1978) A General Theory of Secularization, Blackwell