Event Header Image

Celebrating SocRel at 45: Beyond Binaries in the Sociology of Religion

14–16 July 2020
University of York, UK

Keynote Speakers

  • Dr Sarah Jane Page (Aston University)
  • Professor Sam Perry (University of Oklahoma)

Special 45th Anniversary Panel

  • Professor Eileen Barker (London School of Economics)
  • Professor Jim Beckford (Warwick University)
  • Professor Grace Davie (Exeter University)
  • Professor Linda Woodhead (Lancaster University)

About the Event

Sociological writing about religion is replete with binaries: secular/post-secular, sacred/profane, religion/non-religion, western/non-western, spiritual/religious, theistic/non-theistic, cognitive/corporeal and private/public, to name just a few. Theories that consider the relationship between these seemingly opposing concepts have shaped the evolution of the discipline, reflected changing social realities, and supported the production of new knowledge.

Although many of these binaries have become highly fashionable within the contemporary study of religion, does the use of these types of analytical frames limit our capacity for critical sociological engagement? Do our understanding of the lived realities for individuals across different communities support or reject the use of binary concepts? In this conference that celebrates 45 years of SocRel, we invite you to consider the possibilities for the sociology of religion ‘beyond binaries’. We encourage you to think about the relationships that you make in your own research with these, and other, binary frames, and the ways in which you find them both useful and limiting to think with.

Call for Papers

We invite you to engage in these conference questions from your particular area of research.

To deliver a paper, please submit an abstract of no more than 250 words. We will also be accepting a limited number of special panel proposals. To deliver a special panel, please submit an abstract of no more than 500 words.

Please submit abstracts via the online portal, click here for submission guidelines.  Selected authors will be asked to contribute to an edited volume.

Abstracts must be submitted by 24 January 2020.

Conference Bursaries

A limited number of bursaries are available to support postgraduate, early career, low income or unwaged SocRel members to present at the conference. For more information on bursaries, including the application form, please email our PG/ECR Liaison Officers Joanna Malone and Emily Lynn. Bursary applications must be submitted by 24 January 2020.


Event bookings will open soon. All presenters must be members of SocRel.

Please note that after Friday, 2 June 2020, a £50 late registration fee will apply to all bookings.

Should you have other questions about the conference please also contact the conference organiser: Dr Rachael Shillitoe (University of Birmingham).

Key Dates

  • Abstract submission: OPEN NOW
  • Early bird registration opens: SOON
  • Abstract submission closes: 24 January 2020
  • Decision notification: 7 February 2020
  • Presenter registration closes: 20 March 2020
  • Early bird registration closes: 2 June 2020
  • Registration closes: 30 June 2020

Postgraduate and Early Career Researcher Pre-Conference Day

A pre-conference day will be held Monday, 13 July 2020, further details will be announced in the new year.