module specification

SS6063 - Religion and the State (2022/23)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2022/23
Module title Religion and the State
Module level Honours (06)
Credit rating for module 15
School School of Social Sciences and Professions
Total study hours 140
120 hours Guided independent study
20 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 0%   Case study description
Coursework 100%   Case study essay 3500 words
Running in 2022/23

(Please note that module timeslots are subject to change)
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Autumn semester North Monday Morning

Module summary

 This module will provide students with an opportunity to engage with contemporary debates on the relationship between social science and religion. 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.


 • Defining Religion: Social Science Approach LO1-4
• Religion and the State
• Secularisation?
• Religious Identity
• Protest and Control
• Religion and Social Divisions
• Sects, Cults and New Religious Movements
• Religious Fundamentalism
• Atheism

Balance of independent study and scheduled teaching activity

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. Students will also be given opportunities to use a wide range of appropriate resources available on WebLearn.

Learning outcomes

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

 1. Case study description – formative assessment – justification for the selection of the topic and case study - due in week 10, maximum 400 words;
 2. Case Study essay – application of a relevant issue on a particular case study - 3500 words due week 14.


 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
Davie, G. (2015) Religion in Britain: A Persistent Paradox (2nd edition). Wiley-Blackwell
Hamilton, M. (2001) The Sociology of Religion: Theoretical and Comparative Perspectives. Second Edition, Routledge
Martin, D. (1978) A General Theory of Secularization, Blackwell
Spickard, James V. (2017) Alternative Sociologies of Religion: Through Non-Western Eyes. NYU Press