Call for Papers: Annual Review of the Sociology of Religion – “Atheism”

Proposal for a special issue of the Annual Review of the Sociology of Religion, edited by Franco Garelli and Roberto Cipriani, on atheism (cut-off date for delivery of papers, 30th June 2015; forthcoming 2016)

arsrIn the spring of 1969 an International Symposium on the Culture of Unbelief was held in Rome, organized by the Vatican Secretariat for Unbelievers, with the participation of illustrious sociologists like Parsons, Berger and Luckmann: see R. Caporale, A. Grumelli (eds.), The Culture of Unbelief, University of California Press, 1971 (published in Italian as Religione e ateismo nelle società secolarizzate, Mulino, 1972). This pioneering experience sought to understand the evolution of the secularization then taking place. Later, the topics of religious non-belonging, indifference, agnosticism, ceased to attract the specific attention of sociologists, who began taking a greater interest in pluralism, globalization, multiple modernity and intercultural phenomena. But for some years now the issue of non-religious attitudes and behaviour has come to the fore again. The Sociology of Religion review devoted most of one of its recent issues (Winter 2013, with two essays by Stephen LeDrew and one by Jesse M. Smith) to the phenomenon of atheism. The Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion (March 2013) also showed an interest in unbelief by publishing essays by Jesse M. Smith (Godless Community), Eran Shor and David J. Roelfs (Nonreligious Participation). Previously the Journal of Contemporary Religion had devoted a special issue (January 2012) to the topic of “Non Religion and Secularity”.

The time seems to have come for sociology to take stock of the situation, not merely in partial or territorial terms, but in a much broader sense, in order to obtain a better understanding of the dynamics presently at play in this area. Among other things, it is significant that, in the meantime, a neologism, previously unknown to the literature of sociology has been coined: Nones, those who deny, do not believe, do not belong, do not participate, do not pray, do not refer at all to values of a religious nature.

However, adequate statistical references and specific research devoted entirely to the issue of unbelief are lacking. Without claiming to present a comprehensive picture of the situation at world level, nevertheless, the intention underscoring this proposal is that of trying to provide as varied an analytical perspective as possible, one capable of acting, maybe, as a new starting point for a future sociology of non-religion.

Possible topics include:

  • Irreligion
  • Religious nones
  • Agnosticism
  • Non religious education
  • Non religious participation
  • Non religion
  • Non religion in Britain
  • Atheism in India
  • Non religion in USA
  • Religious indifference
  • Atheism and religion in Eastern and Western Countries
  • World statistics of religion and irreligion
  • Atheism and islam in Eastern and Western Countries
  • Atheism and Orthodox Churches
  • American atheists
  • Teaching atheism
  • Paganism
  • Religion and Non Religion
  • Religion and Secularism
  • New Atheism and Non Religion
  • Atheism in International Social Survey Program

Please send all proposals (300 words) to Roberto Cipriani: rciprian@uniroma3.it

Deadlines:

  • Submission of proposals: June 30, 2014
  • Notification of acceptance: September 30, 2014
  • Completed manuscripts (7000 words): June 30, 2015
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