Conference Call for Papers

Within an era of a growing reliance on digital technologies to instantly and effectively express our values, allegiances, and multi-faceted identities, the interest in digital research methodologies among Sociologists of Religion comes as no surprise (e.g. Bunt 2009; Cantoni and Zyga 2007; Contractor 2012 and Ostrowski 2006; Taylor 2003).

However the methodological challenges associated with such research have been given significantly less attention. What are the epistemological underpinnings and rationale for the use 'digital' methodologies? What ethical dilemmas do sociologists face, including while protecting participants' interests in digital contexts that are often perceived as anonymised and therefore 'safe'? Implementing such 'digital' research also leads to practical challenges such as mismatched expectations of IT skills, limited access to specialized tools, project management and remote management of research processes.

The purpose of our conference

Hosted by the Centre for Society, Religion, and Belief at the University of Derby and funded by Digital Social Research, this conference will bring together scholars to critically evaluate the uses, impacts, challenges and future of Digital Methodologies in the Sociology of Religion. We envisage that the conference will lead to an edited textbook and are currently in discussion with key publishers.

For the purpose of the conference and textbook, digital research is broadly defined as research that either works within digital contexts or which uses either online or offline digital tools. Abstracts for papers that focus on one, or more, of the following themes are invited:
1. Epistemological Positioning
2. Ethical Dilemmas
3. Implementation & Practical Challenges
4. Wider impacts beyond Academia

Please submit an abstract of no more than 300 words, as well as the title of the paper, name of the presenter, institutional affiliation, and contact details to Dr Sariya Contractor at and Dr. Suha Shakkour by 5pm on Friday 21 September 2012.

 We encourage submissions from PhD candidates and Early Career Academics. Shortlisted participants will be notified by Friday 28 September 2012 and will be expected to submit summary papers (1,000 words) by 1 November 2012 for circulation prior to the conference.

A registration fee of £30 will apply for all speakers and delegates (rate includes lunch and refreshments). A number of travel bursaries are available for postgraduate students. To apply for a bursary please write to the conference organisers.

Summary of key dates for papers

  • 21 September 2012 - Last date of submission for abstracts
  • 28 September 2012 - Notification to shortlisted papers
  • 1 November 2012 - Deadline for summary papers

Summary of key dates for conference delegates 

  • 1 September 2012 - Conference registration opens
  • 19 October 2012 - Last date for registration to attend conference

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