SocRel Annual Conference 2021: Beyond Binaries in the Sociology of Religion

13-15 July 2021

Keynote Speakers

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


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

About the Event

For the first time in the history of the SocRel, we were devastated to have cancelled the SocRel Annual Conference 2020 earlier this year due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and due to the uncertainty of the pandemic and social distancing, we are unable to continue with plans for hosting this in-person in 2021. However, we are now preparing to welcome you back at the first ever virtual SocRel Annual Conference in 2021 which we hope will be bigger and better than ever!

The SocRel Annual Virtual Conference 2021 will take place online during the original dates from 13-15 July 2021 and we have a fantastic line up of keynote speakers and panels

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.

Call for Papers

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.

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 panel proposals. To deliver a panel, please submit an abstract of no more than 500 words.

Due to the process of receiving and reviewing abstracts, we are unable to automatically accept those abstracts submitted and accepted for the 2020 conference. We warmly welcome all those who submitted abstracts for 2020 to resubmit your abstract for 2021.

All presenters must be members of SocRel.  Please submit your abstract by 10 February 2021.

Key Dates

  • Abstract submission: Open now
  • Early bird registration opens: 20 January 2021
  • Abstract submission closes: 10 February 2021
  • Decision notification: 26 February 2021
  • Presenter registration closes: 26 March 2021
  • Registration closes: 30 June 2021

Contact the Organiser

Should you have other questions about the conference please contact the conference organiser, Dr Rachael Shillitoe, University of Birmingham.