Current Research & Future Directions

From 2009 forward, my work has moved toward a fusion of the two research streams of past research (e.g. glocalization and religion). This fusion led to the completion of my third monograph Globalization and Orthodox Christianity: The Transformations of a religious Tradition (London: Routledge, 2014). This is a major project based on more than a decade of work in this field. It further includes a considerable amount of additional research into Orthodox Christianity's historical record. Some of these arguments are presented in my 2008 article on the relationship among globality, territoriality and Orthodox Christianity, published in Sociology of Religion. Articles that offer a brief preview of the book's thesis have been published in the European Journal of Social Theory (2013) and the e-journal Religions (2014); while individual chapters addressing the topics of religion, glocalization and globalization have appeared in the edited volumes Sage Handbook of Globalization (2014), European Glocalization in a Global Context (2014) and Eastern Christianity and Politics in the 21st century (2014).

The book argues against the popular view that Orthodoxy is a backward - looking branch of Christianity that remains out of touch from broader cross-regional trends. Instead, I argue that globalization and globality have had a profound impact in shaping the orientation and future direction of Orthodox institutions. The book advances the thesis that Orthodox Christianity has been historically shaped by different waves of globalization and that in turn it has assumed distinct formats in different cultural contexts and eras. Four distinct forms of glocalization are identified (vernacularization, indigenization, nationalization and transnationalization). The book offers historical vignettes from Orthodoxy's long historical record to demonstrate the presence and shape of these cultural hybrids.

An extension of my analysis of Orthodox Christianity as a transnational religion is the publication of a special section on Orthodox Christianity in western Europe for the journal Religion, State and Society (2015). This special section is based on the panels organized during the 2013 congress of the International Society for Sociology of Religion. It represents an inquiry into a hitherto understudied group that has increased considerably over the course of the post-World War II era. My own contribution to the special issue extends my initial discussion of Orthodox transnationalism in Globalization and Orthodox Christianity by including a discussion of Orthodox demographic trends in Western Europe.

Globalization and Orthodox Christianity has been a major project that also signified a turning point in my research trajectory. The book marks my own synthesis of long-term trends in the Orthodox religioscape and it has provided the impetus for shifting my research interests. The evolution of my research agenda has been impacted by shifting international & global trends and more specifically the recently consolidated scholarly field of Global, Cosmopolitan and Transnational Studies. As a founding member of the American Sociological Association's Section on Global and Transnational Sociology and as Board Member of the European Sociological Association's Research Network on Global, Transnational and Cosmopolitan Sociology I have felt that my past research has been increasingly incorporated into scholarly trends that have become central for the world's sociological (and even more broadly, social-scientific) research community.

Reflecting this broad scholarly trends, my past articles, volumes and chapters on globalization, culture, cosmopolitanism and transnationalism have coalesced into an increasingly coherent and uniform research agenda. This new research agenda is presented in my 4th monograph, Glocalization: A critical introduction (London: Routledge, 2016).

This book synthesizes some of my earlier work on glocalization and globalization but also develops new ideas and arguments for the field of Global, Transnational and Cosmopolitan Studies. It is the first international monograph devoted exclusively on the topic of glocalization. An article containing a preview of the book’s theoretical thesis has appeared in the European Journal of Social Theory (2016), while material from the book has appeared in articles published in the journals Globalizations (2015) & Glocalism (2015).

The book's individual chapters engage with a multitude of glocalization scholarship from several fields and disciplines in the social sciences, business and humanities. The main goal is to demonstrate the significance of glocalization as a new concept for a multitude of fields and disciplines. It further argues that glocalization should be seen as a relatively autonomous concept from globalization. In this respect, the thesis pursued can be described as part of the scholarly attention to the theme of post-globalization.

The ideas that form the material in this book also open up theoretical space for further theoretical work on this and related topics. They offer a new point of departure for future work. An application of some of these ideas in the area of religion is the special issue on Glocal Religions (for the e-journal Religions). The special issue is partly based on the panel on Glocal Religions that I organized for the 2015 meetings of the International Society for Sociology of Religion (Louvain-en-neuve, Belgium).

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