Professor Linda WoodheadProfessor
I am an academic (trained in theology and religious studies, then specializing in the empirical study of culture, religion and values) who explores the changing and various ways in which people make their lives and deaths meaningful – both individually and collectively, and by religious and non-religious means. I employ a wide range of methods, ranging from population surveys to immersive fieldwork. The bulk of my work has been on the decline of the churches in the West, and the rise of alternative forms of spirituality and ‘no religion’.
- The Rise of No Religion. Research in China, Estonia, Ireland, UK, USA
- What do we do with ‘redundant’ medieval rural churches? Experiments in new uses. UK, Denmark, Estonia, Germany, Hungary,
I was originally educated (at Emmanuel College, Cambridge) in theology and religious studies, but quickly became more interested in the sociological study of religion and culture. I have taught and researched in that area at Lancaster University for over 20 years.
I have carried out empirical research in Britain, the USA, India, the Philippines and various parts of Europe.
My work is focused on two sides of the same coin:
- The decline (and changing nature) of Christianity and the churches in late-modern societies, particularly in the West. My latest book on this is That was the Church that Was: How the Church of England lost the English People (2016).
- The growth of alternatives - post-Christian and non-religious ways of making sense of life and giving it value and meaning. My first work on this topic looked at the rapid growth of alternative forms of 'spirituality' (e.g. The Spiritual Revolution, 2005). Today I am more interested in the growth of 'no religion' and the 'nones', and what that means in different parts of the world.
This has led to an interest in the future of society, culture and religion, and I am Director of the Institute of Social Futures at Lancaster University.
I enjoy communicating research findings through teaching, media work and public debate.
I am co-founder of the Westminster Faith Debates with Charles Clarke, and I regularly take 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 Andrew Brown. London: Bloomsbury.
2016 Religions in the Modern World. (3rd updated and revised edition). Linda Woodhead,Christopher Partridge and Hiroko Kawanami (eds). New York and London: Routledge.
2012 A Sociology of Religious Emotion. With Ole Ris. Oxford: Oxford UniversitY Press.
2014 A Sociology of Prayer. Giuseppe Giordan and Linda Woodhead (eds). Aldershot: Ashgate.
2014 A Very Short Introduction to Christianity. Second edition, fully revised. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 40,000 copies sold;translated into 15 languages.
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.
2013 Everyday Lived Islam in Europe. Nathal Dessing, Nadia Jeldtoft, Jørgen Nielsen and Linda Woodhead (eds). Aldershot: Ashgate.
2012 Religion and Change in Modern Britain. Linda Woodhead and Rebecca Catto (eds). London: Routledge (2012)
2010 A Sociology of Religious Emotion. With Ole Riis. Oxford: Oxford University Press (2010).
2005 The Spiritual Revolution. Why Religion is Giving Way to Spirituality. With Paul Heelas. Oxford, UK and Malden, USA: Blackwell, 2005.
2004 An Introduction to Christianity. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004.
2004 Congregational Studies in the UK. Mathew Guest, Karin Tusting and Linda Woodhead (eds). Aldershot: Ashgate, 2004.
2003 Predicting Religion: Christian, Secular and Alternative Futures. Grace Davie, Paul Heelas and Linda Wooodhead (eds). Aldershot: Ashgate, 2003.
2002 Peter Berger and the Study of Religion (ed.) London: Routledge, 2002.
2001 Reinventing Christianity: Nineteenth Century Contexts (ed.) Aldershot: Ashgate, 2001.
1999 Religion in Modern Times. With Paul Heelas. Oxford, UK and Malden, USA:Blackwell, 1999.
Nationally-representative surveys of beliefs and values in GB (with YouGov), 2012-. Results and research reports at http://faithdebates.org.uk/research/
1989 MA Theology and Religious Studies, University of Cambridge, UK
1985 BA Theology and Religious Studies, University of Cambridge, UK (Double First Class Honours)
2014- Director, Institute of Social Futures, Lancaster University, UK
2006- Professor of Sociology of Religion, Department of Politics, Philosophy and Religion, Lancaster University, UK
2016 Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences, UK
2014 Doctor of Letters, honoris causa, University of Zurich
2013 MBE (Member of the British Empire), New Year’s Honours
2009 Doctor of Divinity, honoris causa, University of Uppsala
Member of Council (the governing body) of the Economic and Social Research UK (ESRC), (2013-16)
Chair of the Theology and Religious Studies panel for REF 2014 (the national research assessment exercise).
Director of the Religion and Society Research Programme (2007-12). A £12M AHRC/ESRC international research initiative.
RECENT VISITING APPOINTMENTS
2016 Visiting Professor, Stanford University, USA
2013 Visiting Professor, University of Bern, Switzerland
2016 Visiting Professor, Ateneo de Manila, Philippines
2013 British Council Fellow, University of Indiana, USA
2012 Visiting Professor, University of Hannover, Germany
2010 Visiting Professor, University of Aarhus, Denmark
2009 Visiting ESRC-SSRC Fellow, University of Ottawa, Canada
RECENT FUNDED RESEARCH PROJECTS
£12m – Religion and Society Programme, 2007-12 (Director)
€1.2m ‘VEIL Project: Values, Equality and Differences in Liberal Democracies’, EU FP6(Co-I)
PUBLIC AND POLICY
Linda Woodhead and Charles Clarke, A New Settlement: Religion in Schools 2015(18 recommendations for legislative change) http://faithdebates.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/A-New-Settlement-for-Religion-and-Belief-in-schools.pdf
Co-founder of the Westminster Faith Debates www.faithdebates.org.uk six series of national debates engaging new research on religion and values.
PhD Supervision Interests
Happy to consider proposals in the areas of: religion and no religion; contemporary Christianity; cultural and religious change; new forms of ritual practice.
Selected Publications Show all 63 publications
Religion and change in modern Britain
Woodhead, L., Catto, R. 2012 London : Routledge. 408 p. ISBN: 9780415575812. Electronic ISBN: 9780203130643 .
A Sociology of Religious Emotion
Riis, O., Woodhead, L. 2010 Oxford : Oxford University Press. 270 p. ISBN: 9780199567607.
Religions in the Modern World (revised 2nd edition): Traditions and Transformations
Woodhead, L., Kawanami, H., Partridge, C. 2009 London and New York : Routledge. 549 p. ISBN: 9780415458917.
The Spiritual Revolution: Why Religion is Giving Way to Spirituality.
Heelas, P., Woodhead, L., Seel, B., Tusting, K., Szerszynski, B. 2005 Oxford : Blackwell. 204 p. ISBN: 1405119586.
An Introduction to Christianity.
Woodhead, L. 2004 In: An Introduction to Christianity. Cambridge : Cambridge University Press 439 p. ISBN: 052145445X.
A very short introduction to christianity
Woodhead, L. 2004 Oxford : Oxford University Press. 174 p. ISBN: 0192803220.
Five concepts of religion
Woodhead, L. 2011 In: International Review of Sociology . 21, 1, p. 121-143.
Gender Differences in Religious Practice and Significance.
Woodhead, L. 2007 In: The Sage Handbook of the Sociology of Religion. Los Angeles, London, New Delhi, Singapore : Sage p. 550-570. 21 p.
Gendering secularization theory.
Woodhead, L. 06/2008 In: Social Compass. 55, 2, p. 187-193. 7 p.
Religion and Society Programme: Continuing Public Engagement 2012 - 2015
01/01/2013 → …
Youth phase impact activities: Religion & Society
01/10/2009 → 30/06/2013
Extension: Religion & Society Programme Youth Call
01/01/2008 → …
Religion and Society Programme
01/01/2007 → 31/12/2012
FP6: VEIL Project
01/03/2006 → 28/02/2009