Past Events

Friday, May 30th, 2014

"Made in America? Immigrant Occupational Mobility in the First Half of the Twentieth Century." 

Presenters:  Peter Catron, M.A.

Abstract, May 30th, 2014

Friday, March 14th 2014

"The N-Word: It Doesn't Mean THAT Anymore - Or Does it?"

Presenters:  Dahna Rasmussen, M.A. and Rhonda Dugan, Ph.D.

Abstract, May 14th, 2014

Friday, October 25th 2013

"Tell the Minister Not to Talk About God: A Comparative Study of Secularization in Protestant Europe"

Presenter:  Isabella Kasselstrand, Ph.D.

Abstract: Secularization is at the centre of a vibrant debate in the sociology of religion. In the last two decades, literature has started to challenge old predictions and interpretations of the future of religion, but few studies present a detailed contextual examination of religious change. Using a mixed methods approach of secondary quantitative data analysis and in-depth interviews, this study offers a comparative analysis of Scotland and Sweden, two nations in the relatively secularized Northern Europe. Scotland and Sweden are two secularizing nations characterized by historically dominant Protestant churches, but which nonetheless differ largely in their experiences of religious decline. This is highlighted with an examination of broader patterns and individual understandings of religious beliefs and three dimensions of religious belonging: church attendance, religious identification and membership, and participation in rituals. Results show that on measures of religious beliefs and church attendance, Sweden appears further secularized than Scotland. Additionally, the remaining functions of the national churches differ considerably in the two nations. A majority of Swedes identify with the Church of Sweden, which serves a largely secular purpose as part of a cultural heritage and as a provider of life cycle ceremonies. By contrast, the Church of Scotland has maintained a stronger commitment to religious doctrine in a nation that is more religiously diverse. The findings ultimately draw attention to the importance of context in the study of distinct and complex processes of religious change. As a result, they reveal limitations to attempts in the contemporary sociology of religion set out to generalize and dichotomize European trends of religious belief and belonging.