Social Identities between the Sacred and the Secular
Edited by Abby Day and Christopher R. Cotter
Call for Papers
Many people may not identify strongly or consistently as religious, yet
religion still matters for them at certain times and in certain
contexts. Rather than dismiss those self-identifications as meaningless,
incoherent or insignificant, we may find through in-depth research that
they are meaningful, coherent and differently significant (Day 2011).
What is sometimes construed as empty space is filled with something â€“
but what? One typology advanced by Day (2006; 2009; 2011) suggested
Christian â€˜nominalismâ€™ is an important way to mark social identities she
described as Christian ethnic nominalism; natal nominalism and
aspirational nominalism. While her theory about Christian ethnic
nominalism has been analysed cross-culturally and operationalized (see,
for example, Storm 2009; Voas 2009) it is still limited by its Christian
scope. Are there Muslim or Buddhist â€˜nominalistsâ€™, for example? How can
we best describe and understand such people who are neither, or are,
perhaps, more fluidly, religious or secular? (Woodhead 2012)
Such explorations require innovative methods that do not force religious
answers with religious questions and suggest new interpretations of what
it may mean to be â€˜non-religiousâ€™ (Cotter 2011). This under-explored
domain between the secular and the sacred is a contested space that
requires further investigation through innovative methods and fresh
We are therefore delighted that we have been encouraged by the editors
and publisher of the new Ashgate AHRC/ESRC Religion & Society series,
edited by Prof. Linda Woodhead and Dr Rebecca Catto, to submit a full
proposal for an edited collection: Social Identities between the Sacred
and the Secular.
Our first priority has been to confirm the participation of key Religion
& Society programme scholars. We are now extending our Call to the
wider academic community. Publication dates will be negotiated but we
will aim for chapter submission date by April 2012, assuming 12-14
chapters of 5,000 words each.
Below you will find a summary of the publication. If you would like to
contribute, please let us know as soon as possible and provide a title
and 100-word abstract by October 31 2011.
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com
This collection of interdisciplinary chapters will present current
empirical scholarship from local, national and international contexts.
Work will negotiate and advance knowledge and understanding of the
important conceptual and lived spaces between the contested poles of the
â€˜sacredâ€™ and the â€˜secularâ€™.
Researchers finding themselves in this space often did not expect to be
here. Many may have intended to study â€˜traditionallyâ€™ religious or
non-religious individuals, communities, and institutions, but found
something else, something that was neither religious nor secular. It is
that important work we aim to capture.