NYHAGEN, L. , 2017. The lived religion approach in the sociology of religion and its implications for secular feminist analyses of religion. Social Compass, 64(4), pp. 495-511.
The sociological ‘lived religion’ approach focuses on the experiences of religious individuals in everyday life, whilst also considering the institutional aspects of religion that they may engage with. It emphasizes that individuals do not simply ‘copy’ institutional religious prescriptions; instead, it posits that people have an active and reflexive role in shaping, negotiating and changing their own beliefs and practices. This article examines the implications of the ‘lived religion’ approach for secular feminist analyses of religion in Western contexts. It starts out by proposing three different secular feminist positions on religion: a hard, a mixed hard and soft, and a soft position. The article then examines the views on women and religion forwarded by some high-profile feminist organisations in Europe, and how these relate to the three proposed secular feminist positions on religion. Finally, the article assesses which secular feminist position is most compatible with a ‘lived religion’ approach.
This paper was accepted for publication in the journal Social Compass and the definitive published version is available at https://doi.org/10.1177/0037768617727482