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Professor James A. Beckford

James (Jim) A. Beckford BA PhD DLitt FBA

Professor Emeritus
Department of Sociology University of Warwick
Coventry CV4 7AL

Phone 024 76 523156

Fax 024 76 523497



Jim Beckford is Professor Emeritus in the Department of Sociology. He taught at the Universities of Reading, Durham and Loyola, Chicago before joining Warwick in 1989. He was a Senior Fulbright Fellow at the University of California, Berkeley, USA in 1982-83. In addition, he was a Visiting Professor at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, Paris in 2001 and at the Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes, Paris in 2004.

In addition to editing Current Sociology from 1980 to 1986 and to serving as Vice-President of the International Sociological Association from 1994 to 1998, Jim served as Chairman of the Study Group for the Sociology of Religion (1978-1983), as President of the Association for the Sociology of Religion (1988-1989) and as President of the International Society for the Sociology of Religion (1999-2003).

For many years he has contributed to thinking on WRERU’s research strategy and continues to serve on the steering committees of some of the Unit’s key projects.


Most of Jim’s teaching was in the fields of Social Theory, the Sociology of Religion, and Collective Behaviour and Social Movements. He also made various contributions to Warwick’s doctoral training programme in Sociology and to the supervision of PhD students.


Religion was the focus of Jim’s research. Beginning with studies of sects and religious organisations, he went on to study the controversies surrounding ‘cults’ or new religious movements in various countries, religion and the mass media, theories of religion in advanced industrial societies, chaplaincies in prisons and hospitals, and Muslims in Europe. He is currently active in research networks in Canada, Switzerland and France.

Full publications.