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Linda Woodhead supervises 2 postgraduate research students. Some of the students have produced research profiles, these are listed below:

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Professor Linda Woodhead


Linda Woodhead


Tel: +44 1524 510819

Research overview

My work explores the relationship between religious and social change worldwide. Although I consider earlier periods, I am particularly interested in change from the 1980s to the present. I have written about changes in Hinduism, Christianity, alternative spiritualities, paganism, and Islam in Europe. Central themes include the importance for religion of changing gender relations, global consumer capitalism and new media, and the rise of an increasingly educated and expanding middle class.  I focus on how older, established forms of religion and religious leadership are being challenged by these developments and by the rise of new forms of religiosity. Books include  Everyday Lived Islam in Europe (2013), Religion and Change in Modern Britain (2012), A Sociology of Religious Emotion (2011), The Spiritual Revolution (2005), and A Very Short Introduction to Christianity (2004).

Current Teaching

Between 2007 and 2012 I have been directing the AHRC/ESRC Religion and Society Programme, a £12m research investment which embraces 75 separate projects. This buys me out of undergraduate teaching, but I am still involved in PhD supervision.

Research Interests

I was educated at Emmanuel College, Cambridge, and my first job was as lecturer at Ripon College Cuddesdon, Oxford. After that I came to Lancaster, liked it, and have been here ever since.

I am a sociologist of religion. My main interest is in documenting and analysing religious change in modern societies, relating it to wider social changes, and thinking through practical and political implications.

I have carried out empirical research in Britain, the USA, India and parts of Europe, and have written about Christianity, spirituality, neo-Hinduism and Islam in Europe.

I am committed both to academic research and teaching, and to engaging research with wider public debate. I often work collaboratively.

My ongoing work focuses on:

Religion in Public Life: Tracing the new public forms taken by religion worldwide as it has re-configured around expanded markets, media and migratory flows, consumer capitalism, and new kinds of political activism.

Religious Diversity and Boundaries:Researching the conditions under which inter-religious, intra-religious, and religious-secular contact leads to hardening or softening of boundaries and divisions - in a variety of settings, including the workplace, schools and public spaces.

The Re-enchantment of Daily Life:I argue that we have entered a 'post-Reformation' era in the West, and that religion in the 21st century is less doctrinal, centralised and priestly. I research new forms of religiosity, many of which have to do with anchoring a sense of identity, reaching out to higher power(s), and securing meaning and significance in daily life.

Religion, sex and gender:My writing has always focused on religion and power relations, especially religion's relation to gender and inequality. I'm currently interested in religion-related controversies over sex, gender and family.

See CV for more details.

Additional Information



Religion and Change in Modern Britain (co-edited with Rebecca Catto). London: Routledge (2012)

A Sociology of Religious Emotion (with Ole Riis). Oxford: Oxford University Press (2010).

Religions in the Modern World (co-edited with Koko Kawanami and Chris Partridge). 2nd edition. Fully revised. London: Routledge (2009).

God and Human Dignity (co-edited with Kendall Soulen). Grand Rapids, Michigan, Cambridge, UK: William B. Eerdmans, 2006.

The Spiritual Revolution. Why Religion is Giving Way to Spirituality (with Paul Heelas). Oxford, UK and Malden, USA: Blackwell, 2005.

An Introduction to Christianity. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004.

Christianity: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004.

Congregational Studies in the UK (co-edited with Mathew Guest and Karin Tusting). Aldershot: Ashgate, 2004.

Predicting Religion: Christian, Secular and Alternative Futures (co-edited with Grace Davie and Paul Heelas). Aldershot: Ashgate, 2003.

Peter Berger and the Study of Religion (ed.) London: Routledge, 2002.

Religions in the Modern World. Traditions and Transformations (ed.) London: Routledge, 2002.

Reinventing Christianity: Nineteenth Century Contexts (ed.) Aldershot: Ashgate, 2001.

Religion in Modern Times (co-edited with Paul Heelas). Oxford, UK and Malden, USA: Blackwell, 200o.

Diana. The Making of a Media Icon (co-edited with Jeffrey Richards and Scott Wilson) London: I.B.Tauris, 1999.

Religion and Society Programme

I am Director of the Religion and Society Research Programme, which runs until 2013.This is funded by the AHRC (Arts and Humanities Research Council) and the ESRC (Economic and Social Research Council). It has commissioned 75 separate research projectson various themes related to religion and society.

Recent Appointments

Chair of the Theology and Religious Studies panel for REF 2014 (the national research assessment exercise).

Visiting Professor, University of Aarhus, 2008-

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