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Galen Watts

Galen Watts

 

Galen Watts is an FWO Fellow at the Centre for Sociological Research at KU Leuven. Previously he was a Fellow (2020-2022). His research interests include religion, culture, morality, work, and politics. He is also interested in the cultural sources of inequality, belonging, and solidarity in late modernity.

 

You can find out more about him and his research here: http://www.galenwatts.com

 

research interests               View CV               publications               Contacts

 

Research interests

My research interests fall into three strands. 
 
First, the changing nature and function of religion in late modernity—especially as it relates to the West—and why a cultural sociological approach offers the best way to study it. This strand includes my book, The Spiritual Turn (published with Oxford University Press), as well as journal articles in  Journal of the American Academy of Religion, Studies in Religion, The Sociological Review, Religion, American Journal of Cultural Sociology, Method and Theory in the Study of Religion, and Zygon. 
 
Second, culture, inequality, and solidarity. I am interested in the role culture plays in both dividing and binding people. As cultural sociologists have long demonstrated, shared meaning systems, repertoires of evaluation, and collective rituals can serve to exclude, stigmatize, and stratify. However, they can also function to unite people, and inspire them to act for the common good. In my work, I try to shed light on both of these functions.  Moreover, I am particularly interested in the role national cultures play in fuelling as well as mitigating economic and social inequalities. This strand includes my current research project on the changing meanings of “work,” “home,” and “success” in Canada and the U.S., as well as a co-written book project (with Dick Houtman) titled Understanding Cultural Sociology  (under contract with Edward Elgar Publishing).
 
Third, critical social theory and the varieties of normative inquiry. Like Marx, I believe a key role of theory is to change the world. But I also believe that both social life and social theory are fundamentally hermeneutic in nature – thus one can never escape the need for interpretation. For this reason, I am interested in interrogating the presuppositions – normative and theoretical – that shape contemporary critical social theory in order to improve the state of the art. Furthermore, I am interested in reviving an older model of critical social theory, which the late Robert Bellah referred to as “social science as public philosophy.” This strand includes articles published in Civic Sociology, European Journal of Social TheoryCultural Sociology, as well as an article in progress for ​American Journal of Cultural Sociology​.

 

You can find out more about him and his research here:http://www.galenwatts.com


 

Publications

  • Watts, G. (2020). The Religion of the Heart: ‘Spirituality’ in Late Modernity. American Journal of Cultural Sociology. Advance Online.
                doi: 10.1057/s41290-020-00106-x 
  • Watts, G. (2020). Making Sense of the Study of Spirituality: Late Modernity on Trial. Religion. Advance Online. 
                doi: 10.1080/0048721X.2020.1758229
  • Watts, G. (2019). Religion, Science and Disenchantment in Late Modernity. Zygon: Journal of Science and Religion 54(4): 1022-1035.
                doi: 10.1111/zygo.12554
  • Watts, G. (2019). Recovering Enchantment: Addiction, Spirituality, and Charles Taylor’s Malaise of Modernity. Journal of Contemporary Religion 34(1): 39-56. doi: 10.1080/13537903.2019.1585102
  • Watts, G. (2018). On the Politics of Self-Spirituality: A Canadian Case Study. Studies in Religion 47(3): 345-372. doi: 10.1177/0008429818764114

 

You can find the full list of publications on Lirias