A decade after Fishman‘s Decalogue: Taking stock of the Sociology of Language and Religion

Today and tomorrow in Murcia Spain at the Sociolinguistics Symposium 21, an SLR panel is running organised by Brian Bennett. The discussant is Tope Omoniyi.

Here is the abstract for the panel:

Sociolinguistics has tended to neglect religion, reports of whose death have been greatly exaggerated. From state institutions to online rituals, scriptural fundamentalisms to indigenous spiritualities, religion in its multifarious social formations continues to morph and even thrive in an era of globalization and digitization (though, of course, with considerable variation worldwide). Although major figures in the field like David Crystal and Charles Ferguson made contributions early on, it was only in the early 2000’s that
a group of researchers focused attention in a concerted way on the topic. That effort resulted in the volume Explorations in the Sociology of Language and Religion (Omoniyi and Fishman 2006), which included Joshua Fishman’s foundational ‘Decalogue of basic theoretical perspectives for a sociology of language and religion’ (13-25). The past decade has seen further conference sessions (e.g., Berlin 2012, New York 2013, Jyväskylä 2014, Hong Kong 2015) and publications (e.g., Rosowsky 2008, Omoniyi 2010, Bennett 2011), as well as the development of a research network and website (sociologyoflanguageandreligion.com).

Mention should also be made of a two-year project funded by the UK Arts & Humanities Research Council and spearheaded by Andrey Rosowsky and Tope Omoniyi entitled, ‘Heavenly Acts: aspects of performance through an interdisciplinary lens.’ Yet, much remains to be done. For one thing, potentially valuable resources in religious studies and the sociology of religion (e.g., Sharot 2001, Tweed 2006, Riesebrodt 2010, Yelle 2012) have yet to be tapped. This colloquium returns to Fishman‘s ‘Decalogue’ in order to take stock of the current situation. Fishman himself acknowledged that his ten points ―need to be fleshed out, modified, selectively abandoned or added to in order that a theoretically anchored and empirically supported sociology of language and religion can ultimately develop‖ (2006: 24). Presenters attempt to respond to this challenge. Traversing a range of languages, religions, and practices – from Yiddish to Tamil, Hinduism to Russian Orthodoxy, Islamic poetry to Maya prayer – the colloquium aims to consolidate progress made over the past decade and chart new pathways in the sociology of language and religion. It should be noted that questions of linguistic prestige are absolutely central to the religious domain – as Fishman already made clear in a number of theoretical propositions. By revisiting his ‘Decalogue’ in light of new data, questions, methodologies, and theoretical resources, the colloquium makes an important and distinctive contribution to the general theme of the conference.

Panel members are:

Florian Coulmas

Brian Bennett

Barbara Pfeiler & Andreas Koechert

Christian Munch

Rajeshwari Vijay Pandharipande

Nirukshi Michelle Perera

Ioana Nechiti





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