How Religious Students Negotiate the Secular Culture of a State University: A Sociological Study of the University of Manchester

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This study aims to explore how Christian, Jewish and Muslim students navigate the terrain of the secular university whether such an environment is challenging or conducive to their faith in terms of degree content, interactions with peers and involvement with relevant societies and /or chaplaincies.


"Lydia Reid's ground-breaking research speaks directly to this interlocking network of debates. It takes as its starting point the insight that, when it comes to religion, the boundaries of identity are not only porous, but also achieve meaning via dialogue with their principal foci of differentiation, navigated at multiple levels. ... Reid offers an analysis that challenges simplistic understandings of higher education as a straightforwardly secularising influence on society, while modelling an engagement with religious identities that takes seriously the voices and agency of individual students." Dr. Matthew Guest, University of Durham

"Reid's careful and nuanced analysis reveals a far more complex picture than one in which the religiously committed are automatically opposed to those who speak for secularism or, even, atheism nor does she find that they are unprepared to engage in dialogue and critical self-reflection. This book is a valuable contribution to what is clearly going to continue to be a significant arena for scholarly analysis for years to come." Dr. Peter McMylor, University of Manchester

Table of Contents

Foreword by Dr. Matthew Guest


Chapter 1: Introduction

Chapter 2: Literature Review

Chapter 3: Three's a Crowd? Methodological Reflections on the Sociology of Religion

Chapter 4: Negotiating the 'Secular'?: How Religious Students View Their Faith in a University Context

Chapter 5: The Rubik Cube of Faith: How Does the Multifaceted Nature of Student Life Play Out in a University Context?




Appendix 1: Pen Portraits

Appendix 2: Participant Details Form

Appendix 3: The Interview Schedule

Appendix 4: The New Atheism

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