New Book: Hans Mol and the Sociology of Religion
Adam Powell, Hans Mol and the Sociology of Religion (Routledge, 2017) serves as an introduction to Mol’s theory of religious identity for a new generation of social scientists. Powell situates Mol’s ideas amongst competing social theorists of the mid-20th century and argues against a simple functionalist understanding of identity theory. The second half of the volume then offers four previously-unpublished essays by Mol to demonstrate the scope and ambition of this 20th-century sociologist’s theorising.
‘This book offers the possibility of a detailed knowledge about an eminent scholar like Hans Mol, a great specialist on the topic of “identity and religion” which is a key problem in the contemporary socio-religious global situation.’
Roberto Cipriani, Senior and Emeritus Professor at Roma Tre University, Italy & Former President of the ISA Research Committee ‘Sociology of Religion’.
‘Identity demands ever increased attention in today’s interdisciplinary world and here Adam Powell doubly illuminates this dynamic human process. He not only returns Hans Mol’s creative formulation of identity-sacralization to focused attention within theories of religion, but also provides an astutely crisp sociological account of identity theories at large. Sociologists, anthropologists, theologians and religious studies colleagues will enjoy this book a great deal.’
Douglas J. Davies, Professor in the Study of Religion at Durham University, UK & Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences
‘In this admirably thoughtful study, A. J. Powell has provided a timely reminder of the achievement recorded by Hans Mol, whose Identity and the Sacred (1976) left a notable imprint on debate among specialists in both the sociology and theory of religion during the later decades of the last century. Dr. Powell contends, rightly, that Mol has been an underappreciated figure, too readily depicted as “yet another functionalist” at a time when his dialectical conception of religion as the “sacralization of identity” offered elements of originality more evident and discernible today―in newer light cast by current shifts in theory and criticism.
Daniel L. Pals, Professor of Religious Studies and History at the University of Miami, USA