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Religion and Society

Exploring the interrelationships between religion and society.

Questions of belief, human culture, society and religion are complex, which is why the AHRC and Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) have come together to explore the current developments of these subjects in both the arts and humanities and social sciences communities.

Background

The Religion and Society Programme ran for six years from January 2007. Funded by the AHRC and ESRC, it was the first UK research programme to foster collaborative endeavours across the arts and humanities and social sciences communities in order to understand the role of religion in shaping our lives, communities and society. This programme also aimed to increase understanding amongst the wider public of these relationships, contribute to policy and practice, and engage end users through collaboration.

The Programme

The programme aimed to:

  • develop the understanding of religion and society through its thematic focus;
  • develop an enduring research field in terms of theories, methods, sources, materials and case studies which will enable comparative analyses of religion and society to be undertaken;
  • explore new approaches for studying religion and society, including appropriate methods for the analysis of texts, narratives and non-verbal and non-textual material such as art, music, and products of popular culture;
  • promote effective working between disciplines and build new connections and understandings as outcomes;
  • promote effective working relations between researchers and the researched, including the development of user-led research;
  • develop interdisciplinary themes and approaches that become embedded in the research agenda and resources of the arts, humanities and the social sciences;
  • make a significant international impact within the field;
  • facilitate exchange between researchers, and a wide range of individuals and organisations committed to understanding and promoting knowledge about religion and society, including those in government agencies, public, charitable and voluntary bodies, the creative industries, the cultural and heritage sectors (including museums and galleries);
  • provide insights of practical and policy relevance;
  • develop the research community by supporting new researchers and integrating them with established ones, including collaborating with researchers in organisations beyond the HE sector;
  • contribute to public awareness by disseminating findings and addressing current issues of public concern through outputs directed at a wide audience (including web pages, exhibitions, performances, public lectures and broadcasts);
  • promote effective use of existing data resources, and the development of long-term qualitative and quantitative resources; and,
  • build capacity in quantitative and qualitative research methodologies in the study of religion and society.

Full details are available on the programme website.