Praying with the Hand You Are Dealt: Revisiting Social Class in the Study of Religion

Adam Stewart


Almost since the very inception of sociology as a discipline, it was widely assumed that social class determined an individual’s religious beliefs, practices, and affiliation. In the later twentieth and early twenty-first centuries, this assumption has been criticized as being overly reductionist by those advocating the role of human agency in the determination of religious subjectivity. This resulted in class being largely ignored within the academic study of religion. In this paper I argue that social class should be revisited as an important category of inquiry within the study of religion. I argue that by applying Sean McCloud’s recent theory of “socially habituated subjectivity” to the relationship between religion and class, it is possible to admit the important connection that exists between certain religious groups and social classes, while not falling prey to the reductionistic theories of the past.



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University of Victoria
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ISSN (Print): 1705-2947
ISSN (Online): 1712-5634