Bryan Turner - Visiting Professor

Prof. Bryan Turner

Current Position
Professor Bryan Turner is the Director of the Religion and Society Research Centre and Presidential Professor of Sociology at The Graduate Center at the City University of New York, USA, as well as Director of the Religion and Society Research Centre at the University of Western Sydney. He has taught at the University of Aberdeen, Flinders University, University of Utrecht, Deakin University, Cambridge University and the National University of Singapore. He is the founding editor of the journals Body&Society, Citizenship Studies and Journal of Classical Sociology, and an editorial member of numerous journals including: British Journal of Sociology, European Journal of Social Theory, Contemporary Islam and Journal of Human Rights.

Current Projects

1) The Comparative and Historical Study of Citizenship and Religion.
Professor Turner is editor of the Routledge book series Religion in Contemporary Asia (2012) and also the editor of the Routledge Handbook of Religions in Asia. He has been involved in the study of citizenship for some years (by editing the journal Citizenship Studies since 1997) and publishing such works as Isin, Nyers, and Turner Citizenship between Past and Future, 2008. More recently he has become interested in human rights (see Vulnerability and Human Rights 2006 and with Rhiannon Morgan Interpreting Human Rights 2009). He has started to undertake some preliminary investigations into the history of citizenship (broadly conceived) in Asia since the 1880s. He is currently working with Professor Wing On Lee and others in the Centre for Citizenship and Governance in the Hong Kong Institute of Education to start a research program and joint publications on religion and politics in Asia.

Professor Turner’s ambition is to complete a comparative research programme that would explore the value of these ideas about trust, citizenship, and the rule of law in the religiously diverse societies of Asia in order to understand the impact of religious globalisation on (often fragile) political structures (for example the conflicts in southern Thailand, and Indonesia). These studies would create a possible theoretical framework for an even more ambitious programme to consider the complex relations between religion, marriage, civil society and the state – all of which create problems for modern citizenship.

2) Religion and the Sociology of the Body
The issue of human embodiment runs through much of Professor Turner’s approach to sociology and to religion in particular. In some recent lectures he has developed a critique of modern sociology for its attention to formal beliefs and attitudes rather than to religious practices and embodiment. This perspective on religious practice and the human body can be an important dimension of the research he intends to foster in Sydney on city life, popular culture and rituals. I edited a collection with Zheng Yangwen on The Body in Asia with Berghahn Books in summer 2009, and edited The Routledge International Handbook of Body Studies (2012). Two recent publications include ‘The Rights of Age: On Human Vulnerability’ in Judith Blau and Mark Frezzo (eds) (2011) Sociology and Human Rights. A Bill of Rights for the Twenty-First Century, Los Angeles: Sage, pp.201-221 and (2011) ‘ Rights, reform and resources: Malthusian reflections on scarcity and old age’ in Thomas Cushman (ed) Handbook of Human Rights, pp. 206-19.

4) Law and Religion
With Dr Berna Arslan Professor Turner published ‘Shari’a and Legal Pluralism in the West’ European J of Social Theory 14(2) 2011:139-159. This was followed by ‘Legal Pluralism, State Sovereignty and Citizenship’ Democracy & Security 7(4) 2011: 317-337. With scholars at the University of Western Sydney and Macquarie University in Australia, he was awarded an ARC Discovery grant of A$185,788 over three years (2012-5) to study the Shari’a in Australia and the United States (‘Testing the limits of postsecularism and multiculturalism in Australia and the United States: Shari’a in the everyday life of Muslim communities).

5) Global Financial Class
Professor Turner has become familiar with Professor Robert van Krieken’s plans to develop a comparative research project with his colleague, Professor Sighard Neckel at Frankfurt University/Frankfurt Institute for Social Research on a global financial class, looking in the first place at Frankfurt and Sydney, and he plans to become involved in this project on global elites(class) and finance capitalism. His original thought was to rewrite Mills’ Power Elite as Power Elite Revisited or The Global Power Elite, looking at changes in the elites since Mills published his study in 1956. This could include Singapore as part of a research team on global development.



  • 2012 The Religious and the Political, Cambridge University Press.
  • 2011 Religion and Modern Society: Citizenship, Secularisation and the State, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.
  • 2010 Turner B, Khondker H Globalization East and West, SAGE, London
  • 2009 Can we live forever? A sociological and moral inquiry, Anthem Press, London.
  • 2009 Nasir, Kamaludeen Mohamed, Alexius A. Pereira and Bryan S. Turner Muslims in Singapore: Piety, politics and policies, Routledge, London.
  • 2008 Body and Society: Explorations in Social Theory (third revised edition), SAGE, London.
  • 2008 Rights and Virtues: Political Essays on Citizenship and Social Justice Bardwell Press, London.
  • 2006 Vulnerability and Human Rights, Penn State University Press, PA.
  • 2004 The New Medical Sociology, Norton, New York.
  • 1999 Classical Sociology, SAGE, London.
  • 1996 For Weber: Essays on the Sociology of Fate (second revised edition), SAGE, London.
  • 1995 Medical Power and Social Knowledge (second revised edition) SAGE, London.
  • 1994 Orientalism, Postmodernism and Globalism, Routledge, London.
  • 1992 Regulating Bodies: essays in medical sociology, Routledge, London.
  • 1991 Max Weber: from history to modernity, Routledge, London
  • 1991 Religion and Social Theory, (second edition with a new introduction), SAGE, London.

Edited books

  • 2011 Susen, S. and B. Turner (eds) The Legacy of Pierre Bourdieu: Critical Essays, Anthem Press, New York.
  • 2011 Ben-Porat, Guy and B. Turner (eds) The Contradictions of Israeli Citizenship Land, Religion and State, Taylor and Francis, London.
  • 2010 Secularization (Four-Volume Set) SAGE, UK.
  • 2010 The New Blackwell Companion to the Sociology of Religion, Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford.
  • 2009 The Routledge International Handbook of Globalization Studies, Routledge, London.
  • 2009 The New Blackwell Companion to Social Theory, Blackwell- Wiley, Oxford.
  • 2007 Religious Diversity and Civil Society. A Comparative Analysis, Bardwell Press, Oxford.
  • 2006 The Cambridge Dictionary of Sociology, Cambridge: Cambridge.
  • 2003 Islam: Critical Concepts in Sociology (4 volumes), Routledge, London and New York.
  • 2000 Blackwell Companion to Social Theory (second revised edition), Blackwell, Oxford.
  • 2000 Orientalism: Early Sources (12 volumes), Routledge, London and New York.

Book Chapters

  • 2010 'Islam, Diaspora and Multiculturalism' in Akbar S. Ahmed and Tamara Sonn (eds) The SAGE Handbook of Islamic Studies, SAGE, London, pp 17-33
  • 2010 'Cosmopolitanism and the clash of civilizations' in John R. Hall, Laura Grindstaff, and Ming-Cheng Lo (eds) Handbook of Cultural Sociology, Routledge, UK, pp 677-685.
  • 2010 'Islam, Public Religions and the Secularization Debate' in Gabriele Marranci (ed) Muslim Societies and the Challenge of Secularization: An Interdisciplinary Approach, Springer, London, pp 11-30
  • 2010 'Rights, Recognition and Relativism' in Wenche Ommundsen, Michael Leach and Andrew Vandenberg (eds) Cultural Citizenship and the Challenges of Globalization, Wenche Ommundsen, Michael Leach and Andrew Vandenberg (eds), Hampton Press, USA, pp 25-50
  • 2009 ‘Max Weber on Islam and Confucianism: the Kantian Theory of Secularization’ in Peter B. Clarke (ed) The Oxford Handbook of the Sociology of Religion Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp.79-97
  • 2009 ‘Preface to the new edition’ of H.H. Gerth and C. Wright Mills (eds) From Max Weber:Essays in Sociology London: Routledge, pp. xii –xxxiv
  • 2009 ‘Violence, Human Rights and Piety: cosmopolitanism versus virtuous exclusion’ in Thomas Brudholm and Thomas Cushman (eds) The Religious in Responses to Mass Atrocity. Interdisciplinary Perspectives, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 242- 263.
  • 2009 ‘Goods not Gods: New Spiritualities, Consumerism and Religious Markets’ in Ian Rees Jones, Paul Higgs and David J. Ekerdt (eds) Consumption and Generational Changes. The Rise of Consumer Lifestyles, New Brunswick: Transaction, pp.37-62
  • 2009 ‘Marxism and Exile: Reflections on Intellectual Migration’ in Katie Terezakis (ed) Engaging Agnes Heller. A Critical Companion, Lanham :Lexington Books, pp. 23-36
  • 2009 ’A sociology of citizenship and human rights.Does social theory still exist?’ in R.Morgan and B.S. Turner (eds) Interpreting Human Rights London: Routledge, pp. 177-199


  • 2011 (with Susen S.) 'Tradition and innovation in classical sociology' Journal of Classical Sociology 11 (1): 5-13.
  • 2011 (with Zengin Arslan B.) 'Shari’a and legal pluralism in the West' European Journal of Social Theory 14 (2): 139-152.
  • 2011 'Max Weber and the spirit of resentment: The Nietzsche legacy' Journal of Classical Sociology 11 (1): 75-92.
  • 2010 (with Onnudottir H, Possamai A) 'Islam: A New Religious Vehicle for Aboriginal Self-Empowerment in Australia?', International Journal for the Study of New Religions 1(1):49-74
  • 2010 ‘Revisiting Weber and Islam’ British Journal of Sociology vol 60 (online special publication)
  • 2009 ‘Religious Speech. The Ineffable Nature of Religious Communication in the Information Age’ Theory Culture & Society 25 (7-8): 219-235
  • 2009 ‘Reshaping the Sociology of Religion: globalization, spirituality and the erosion of the social’ Sociological Review 57(1):186-200
  • 2009 ‘America – an exceptional modernity?’ Journal of Classical Sociology 9(1):168-79
  • 2009 ‘T.H.Marshall, social rights and English national identity’ Citizenship Studies 13(1): 65- 73
  • 2009 ‘Longevity ancient and modern’ Society 46(3):255-261.
  • 2008 ‘Substantive democracy as civil sphere: further considerations on Blau and Moncada’ Sociological Analysis 1(i): 44-5
  • 2008 ‘Citizenship, reproduction and the state: international marriage and human rights’ Citizenship Studies 12(1)
  • 2008 ‘Introduction: the price of piety’ Contemporary Islam 2:1-6
  • 2008 (with Tong, Joy Kooi-Chin) ‘Women, piety and practice: a study of women and religious practice in Malaya’ Contemporary Islam 2: 41-59
  • 2008 ‘Civility, civil sphere and citizenship: solidarity versus the enclave society’ Citizenship Studies 12 (2): 177-184
  • 2008 (with Guy Ben-Porat) ‘Contemporary Dilemmas of Israeli Citizenship’ Citizenship Studies 12(3): 195-201
  • 2008 ‘Does Anthropology still Exist?’ Society 45(3):260-66.
  • 2008 ‘Policy Options for the New President in Asia’ Society 45(5):429-432
  • 2008 ‘Somaesthetics and the critique of Cartesian dualism’ (Review Article) Body & Society 14(3):129-33