Denne teksten ble brukt for å presenterte Linda Woodhead (f. 1964) da hun ble kreert æresdoktor ved MF i 2017.
Linda Woodhead (1964) is Professor of Sociology of Religion and director of the Institute of Social Futures in the Department of Politics, Philosophy and Religion, Lancaster University.
She was the director of the Religion and Society Research Programme (2007-12), a £12 mill international research initiative, funded by AHRC/ESRC.
Linda Woodhead employs a wide range of methods, ranging from population surveys to immersive fieldwork. The bulk of her work has been on the decline of the churches in the West, and the rise of alternative forms of spirituality and ‘no religion’. She has been awarded many honours, and has been visiting professor in many universities worldwide.
Linda Woodhead is an excellent lecturer and supervisor, as well as communicator, taking regularly part on radio and TV discussions of religion and culture.
- 2016 That Was The Church, That Was: how the Church of England lost the People of England. With A. Brown. London: Bloomsbury.
- 2016 Religions in the Modern World. (3rd updated and revised edition). With Chr. Partridge and H. Kawanami (eds). New York and London: Routledge.
- 2014 A Very Short Introduction to Christianity. Second edition, fully revised. Oxford University Press. 40,000 copies sold; translated into 15 languages.
- “What British People Really Believe”. Modern Believing¸ No.1, 2014.
- 2013 Prayer in Religion and Spirituality. Giuseppe Giordan and Linda Woodhead (eds). Leiden, Boston: Brill.
- 2013 The Westminster Faith Debates: Religion in Personal Life (ed.). London: Darton, Longman and Todd.
- 2012 Religion and Change in Modern Britain. With R. Catto (eds). London: Routledge
- 2010 A Sociology of Religious Emotion. With O. Riis. Oxford University Press
- “Gendering Secularisation Theory”. Social Compass 55 (2), 2008.
- “Gender Differences in Religious Practice and Significance”. In The Sage Handbook of the Sociology of Religion. 2007.
- 2005 The Spiritual Revolution. Why Religion is Giving Way to Spirituality. With P. Heelas. Oxford: Blackwell
- 2004 An Introduction to Christianity. Cambridge University Press
- 2000 Religion in Modern Times. With P. Heelas. Oxford and Malden: Blackwell.
Linda Woodhead’s work is characterised by the ability to succinctly frame key ideas in a way that engages practitioners, the wider public, students and researchers alike. is professor of
Sociology of Religion at the University of Lancaster, and the director of the Institute of Social Futures at the same University.
After completing theology and religious studies degrees at Cambridge, Professor Woodhead has turned towards the empirical study of religion, both in Britain and globally. Professor Woodhead’s work has engaged over time with understanding a key transformation people’s religious and non-religious lives: the decline of organised religion such as mainline Churches in the West, and the various forms of that rises in the wake of the decline of Churches.
It is always tempting to analyse a production in terms of phases, and while the decline of Churches, particularly the Church of England, has been a part of her work over time, the
emphasis on what comes instead has changed.
Professor Woodhead published her book ”The spiritual revolution” with Paul Heelas in 2005, a reference work in the sociology of religion, outlining how the religious life in organised churches was giving way to new, more individualised and humanised forms of spirituality. The book is based on a unique indepth study of the town of Kendal in Cumbria in North West England. The main finding there was that there were two seperate religious or spiritual domains – mainly a congregational and a holistic domain. The story was not a simple one of the holistic taking over the scene, but an analysis of how active and thriving religious groups and practices increasingly became a research for individual lives and wellbeing did relatively well. Religion, Woodhead and Heelas hypothesised, was becoming increasingly ”subjectified”.
More recently, Professor Woodhead has turned her attention to understanding the rise of ”no religion” - or ”nones” – the fastest growing category in many surveys across many countries. Secularisation theory was challenged around the turn of the century, for being axiomatic rather than empirical, eurocentric and lacking nuance. Illustrating the complexity
of the matter, these criticisms still stand – but desecularisation claims are also in trouble.
The rise of the ”nones” are an important part of this puzzle. It seems clear that this is a growing category, but a complex one to understand. ”That was the Church that was” is an analysis of why the Anglican Church of England has declined in recent years. It also showcases professor Woodheads ability to combine academic and public argument. It argues that this is in no way an inevitable decline, but a result of an increasing mismatch between clergy and potential church goers, lost chances and infighting. Women, who upheld the Church for decades, got fed up with the resistance to women clergy and bishops. A population still open to various spiritual practices lost interest in the internal debates of the clergy, largely irrelevant – or even disrespectful - of their concerns.
Apart from defining the terms with which scholars and students now speak of contemporary religiosity, Woodhead has also played a key part in facilitating, combining and communicating the work of others. When the British research councils for the humanities and social sciences combined to fund the massive and unprecedented £12 million research
programme Religion and Society, it was with Professor Woodhead as its leader. This wide ranging research project ran from 2007-2013. It funded 75 research projects, and has played
a key part in re-establishing the humanistic and social science research on religion as a multifaced aspect of contemporary life.
Professor Woodhead not only played a key role in bringing the project about, but also coordinated a diverse and wide-ranging set of research and brought it together in a way that
not only advances our knowledge of religion in society, but also brings many new researchers opportunities to develop their research and thinking.
Professor Woodhead’s ability to succinctly frame and communicate research-based and complex issues to a wide variety of policymakers, faith groups, academics, and a wider public has been a key part of the programme’s success. This has resulted in the Westminster Faith Debates, which showcases research on religion and brings them into public debate. The Westminster Faith Debates have brought together figures such as Tony Blair, the then Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, high-profile Oxford atheist Richard Dawkins and key researchers for a series of high profile debates. Professor Woodhead has organised these debates together with previous Labour Governments education secretary and home secretary Charles Clarke from 2012.
Her contributions to empirical research, to theory development, to promoting the research of others and communicating research-based knowledge about religion today, all underscore why she receives her honorary doctorate here at MF Norwegian School of Theology. We hope to keep learning from her energetic and lively thinking and writing. And driving, apparently…