Abby Day

Staff details

Position Professor of Race, Faith & Culture
Department Sociology
Email (
Phone +44 (0)20 7717 3371
Abby Day

Abby Day’s work is focused on building capacity and representing sociology of religion both inside and outside universities, nationally and internationally, through teaching, research, publishing and supervision. Abby leads the BA Religion, a unique interdisciplinary programme offered jointly with Sociology, Anthropology and Politics & International Relations The programme explores critically the relationships between religion and other aspects of society as diverse as culture, communication, politics, economy, nation, education, gender, law and ethnicities. 

Abby was recently Principal Investigator on an ESRC project exploring the role and sociological impact of women’s labour in churches and related communities, and before that completed an AHRC-funded project on ‘Belief in Cultural Relations’, investigating the dynamic of ‘belief’ in recent transitions in the Arab world.

She is past-Chair of the Sociology of Religion study group within the British Sociological Association, a member of the ESRC Peer Review College, and a Trustee of  the Sociological Review. She also served as a Member, Office for National Statistics, on census questions regarding Ethnicity, Identity, Language and Religion.

Her activities at other universities and centres, as a key-note speaker, research and teacher, allow her to build truly collaborative research and teaching initiatives. With international colleagues in the UK, Canada and Nordic countries, Abby is developing a research network in what they are loosely describing as ‘northern’ approaches to the sociology of religion. Abby has been, since 2013, teaching an annual workshop on ‘Multi-sited and Mobile Ethnography’ on the MSc Social Research Methods programme, ESRC Doctoral School, University of Sussex. In 2015/2016 she was Research Director, Religion Media Centre Research Unit, Goldsmiths, University of London; in July-August 2015 she was a Visiting Research Fellow, Center for Studies in Religion and Society, University of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada; from 2011 – 2016 she was Senior Research Fellow and Lecturer in Anthropology and Sociology of Religion; Department of Religious Studies, University of Kent, UK; from 2012-2015 she was Visiting Research Fellow at the University of Sussex, Department of Geography; in 2012, Abby was a Visiting Lecturer at Uppsala University, Sweden and in 2013 Abby was a Visiting Lecturer in Anthropology of Religion at Helsinki University, Finland.


Abby leads the BA Religion and recently convened the BA Social & Political Sciences, an inter-disciplinary programme between Anthropology, Political Science and Sociology. She designed and leads the popular 2nd year course: Sociology of Religion in the Modern World, and lectures on ‘Religion, Crime and Gender’ on the MA Race, Gender and Social Justice and lectures on ‘Gender, Faith and Culture’ on the MA in Gender, Media and Culture.

Research Interests

Sociology of religion, anthropology of religion, ethnicity, belief, culture, gender,  generations, youth, research methods

Publications and research outputs


Day, Abby. 2017. The Religious Lives of Older Laywomen: The Last Active Anglican Generation. Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780198739586

Day, Abby. 2011. Believing in Belonging: Belief and Social Identity in the Modern World. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780199577873

Day, Abby. 2008. How to Get Research Published in Journals. 2nd edition. Aldershot UK: Gower (now Routledge). ISBN 0566088150

Edited Book

Day, Abby, ed. 2016. Contemporary Issues in the Worldwide Anglican Communion: Powers and Pieties. Farnham: Ashgate. ISBN 9781472444134

Day, Abby and Lövheim, Mia, eds. 2015. Modernities, Memory and Mutations: Grace Davie and the Study of Religion. Farnham: Ashgate. ISBN 9781472436177

Book Section

Braverman, Danny. 2022. "This Island's Mine": University Teaching as Inclusive Dramaturgy. In: Abby Day; Lois Lee; David S. P. Thomas and James Spickard, eds. Diversity, Inclusion, and Decolonization: Practical Tools for Improving Teaching, Research and Scholarship. Bristol: Bristol University Press, pp. 64-80. ISBN 9781529216646

Day, Abby. 2019. Anthropology of Ministry. In: Martyn Percy; Emma Percy and Ian Markham, eds. The Study of Ministry: A Comprehensive Survey of Theory and Best Practice. London: SPCK Publishing, pp. 41-55. ISBN 9780281081363


Day, Abby. 2020. Towards increasing diversity in the study of religion. Religion, 50(1), pp. 46-52. ISSN 0048-721X

Day, Abby. 2019. Textbooks for teaching the sociology of religion. Religion, 49(2), pp. 296-307. ISSN 0048-721X

Day, Abby. 2016. Response to: Around Abby Day’s Believing in Belonging: Belief and Social Identity in the Modern World. Religion and Society: Advances in Research, 7, pp. 97-111. ISSN 2150-9298 2150-9301

Day, Abby and Coleman, Simon. 2015. Textbooks for teaching the Anthropology of Religion: A Review’. Religion, 46(2), pp. 209-220. ISSN 0048-721X

Day, Abby and Lee, Lois. 2014. Making sense of surveys and censuses: Issues in religious self-identification. Religion, 44(3), pp. 345-356. ISSN 0048-721X

Day, Abby and Rogaly, Ben. 2014. Sacred Communities: Contestations and Connections. Journal of Contemporary Religion, 29(1), pp. 75-88. ISSN 1353-7903

Day, Abby. 2013. The Problem of Generalizing Generation. Religion and Society: Advances in Research, 4, pp. 109-124. ISSN 2150-9298

Day, Abby. 2013. Varieties of belief over time: reflections from a longitudinal study of youth and belief. Journal of Contemporary Religion, 28(2), pp. 277-293. ISSN 1353-7903

Day, Abby. 2010. Propositions and Performativity: Relocating Belief to the Social. Culture and Religion, 11(1), pp. 9-30. ISSN 1475-5610

Day, Abby. 2009. Believing in belonging: an ethnography of young people’s constructions of belief. Culture and Religion, 10(3), pp. 263-278. ISSN 1475-5610

Day, Abby. 2009. Researching Belief without Asking Religious Questions. Fieldwork in Religion, 4(1), pp. 86-104. ISSN 1743-0615

Day, Abby. 2008. Wilfully Disempowered: A Gendered Response to a 'Fallen World'. European Journal of Women's Studies, 15(3), pp. 261-276. ISSN 1350-5068

Day, Abby. 2005. ‘Doing Theodicy: an Empirical Study of a Women’s Prayer Group’. Journal of Contemporary Religion, 20(3), 343. -356. ISSN 1353-7903

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