Call for Chapter Contributions: Digital Methodologies in the Sociology of Religion

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

Dr Suha Shakkour and I are editing a volume on Digital Methodologies in the Sociology of Religion to be published by Bloomsbury in 2015. The volume will simultaneously be published in hardback, paperback and e-book versions and will be aimed at both student and academic audiences

An number of academics are contributing to this book project which we hope we lead to a benchmark text for students and colleagues studying both ‘religion online’ and ‘online religion’. We are now seeking a few more chapters and this is an invitation to colleagues with relevant research expertise to send us an expression of interest. Further details are appended below.

Best wishes,


Call for Chapter Contributions

Last date for submission of abstracts 31st March 2014

Digital Methodologies in the Sociology of Religion

In November 2012, Dr Sariya Cheruvallil-Contractor and Dr Suha Shakkour of the Centre for Society, Religion & Belief (SRB), University of Derby organised a one-day conference on Digital Methodologies in the Sociology of Religion. This conference was funded by a grant from Digital Social Research (DSR). We have secured a contract with Bloomsbury for the publication of an edited volume on Digital Research Methodologies in the Sociology of Religion. This is be published simultaneously in hardback, paperback, and as an e-book in 2015. While we have already considerable high-quality contributions from the conference speakers, in order to enhance the depth and breadth of the book we are seeking a few additional contributors. Further details are provided below:

Context: Within an era of a growing reliance on digital technologies to instantly and effectively express our values, allegiances, and multi-faceted identities, the interest in digital research methodologies among Sociologists of Religion comes as no surprise (e.g. Bunt 2009; Cantoni and Zyga 2007; Cheruvallil-Contractor 2012, 2013 and Ostrowski 2006; Taylor 2003). However the methodological challenges associated with such research have been given significantly less attention. What are the epistemological underpinnings and rationale for the use ‘digital’ methodologies? What ethical dilemmas do sociologists face, including while protecting participants’ interests in digital contexts that are often perceived as anonymised and therefore ‘safe’? Implementing such ‘digital’ research also leads to practical challenges such as mismatched expectations of IT skills, limited access to specialized tools, project management and remote management of research processes.

The textbook we are editing will enable undergraduate and graduate students to understand the realities and complexities of undertaking digital research. With the above in mind, only one-third (as a maximum) of your chapter should relate to the findings and context of your research. Instead the chapters should focus on methodology and must consider the following questions:

a. Why and how did you decide to adopt a digital methodology in your research?

b. Please describe your chosen methodology – how did you theorise for it?

c. Please describe the practicalities of using this methodology

d. What obstacles did you face?

e. Choose one or two of these main obstacles and focus your chapter around these

f. While each chapter should consider the ethical implications of undertaking digital research, this should not be the main focus of every chapter – there are many different obstacles that students will face, and this book must cover as many of these as it can. Note also, that depending on how different the ethical implications in each of the chapters are, we may set these apart within each chapter in a ‘boxed text’ format. Therefore, it does not need to sit neatly in the rest of the paper.

g. What were the successes / benefits of using this methodology?

Please submit an abstract of no more than 300 words, as well as the title of the chapter, name of the presenter, institutional affiliation, and preferred address to Dr Sariya Contractor ( and Dr. Suha Shakkour ( by 5pm on Thursday 31st March 2014. Shortlisted contributors will be notified by 17th April 2014 and will be expected to submit full chapters (5000 words) by 21st June 2014. We particularly encourage chapters on Judaism, Hinduism, Sikhism, Buddhism, Non-religious groups and on the New Religious Moments