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Behind the Launch of Religion and Society

ARRS 2012 Cover

Religion and Society was introduced as part of the Advances in Research series of journals in 2010 by Berghahn. In this post, the Editors of Religion and Society discuss the foundation of the journal, its intentions, the selection of articles, and the latest issue.

Anthropologists have been saying for quite a while that it would be great to have an English-language journal dedicated to religion, and so we jumped at the suggestion for just such a publication when it was proposed by Marion Berghahn in 2009. We decided that we wanted the journal to contain a variety of sections that would really try to show current research in the making.

       Our ‘standard’ articles have contained critical, engaged overviews of topics ranging from cognitive approaches in the study of religion to discussions of space and place, publics, phenomenology, Pentecostalism, and so on. We’ve combined these with what we hope are discipline-defining profiles of key figures in our sub-field, including Maurice Bloch, José Casanova and most recently Jean Comaroff, where each scholar’s reflections on their own work are juxtaposed with further comments from colleagues.

ARRS 2011 Cover       This sense of a sub-field being produced in dialogic form also emerges in our ‘debate’ section on topics of current concern (so far the credit crisis, violence, and revolution) as well as in our ‘author meets critics’ sections. And it should also be evident in our section on teaching the sub-field, where we ask people to reflect on successful techniques in the making of anthropologists of religion. The journal also contains a ‘news’ section and a reviews section, edited by Maya Mayblin, that deals with films as well as books produced in previous year or so. Ruy Blanes originally edited the reviews for the journal, and has now become one of the general editors.

       It’s worth saying something about how we obtain copy. We don’t take unsolicited papers but we do work with our extensive editorial board to identify some of the most exciting topics being written about, and some of the most exciting writers – whether they are old hands or newer researchers. We’re also keen to include but also to go beyond more established Euro-American arenas for debate: for instance a recent piece examined the anthropology of Pentecostalism from the perspective of national academic and political culture in Brazil.

       In volume 3, apart from the portrait of Jean Comaroff’s career and contributions to the study of religion, our debate section continues to address problems that emerge from current events. In this case, we invited authors to reflect on ‘religion and revolution’. We also offer a critical debate around the book More than Belief, by Manuel Vásquez, and articles that cover diverse issues of comparative theoretical interest such as cosmology (Holbraad & Abramson), seriousness and irony (Carrithers), Afro-Brazilian religions, ARRS 1 CoverRdiaspora and the anthropology of mission (Sansi & Parés, Johnson, Montero respectively), the intersection of religion and sport (Carter), and political activism (Tremlett).

       Although our papers are published in English we have in the past translated some pieces by scholars from different language traditions and continue to explore possibilities. As editors we hope that Religion in Society can be a journal of record for our sub-field.


— Ruy Blanes, Simon Coleman, Maya Mayblin and Ramon Sarró

  Editors, Religion and Society

Volume 3 of Religion and Society is now available online through Ingenta here.

To download and read the Introduction to the issue for free, click here.

For more information on Religion and Society, please visit the journal’s website: