Encyclopedia of Religion
and Society

William H. Swatos, Jr. Editor

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(1942-) American-born sociologist, now resident in Australia; Ph.D., Cornell University, 1970.

A second-generation sociologist, Bouma also has been a Presbyterian minister and is a priest in the Anglican Church of Australia. He has maintained both academic and ecclesiastical involvement throughout his career, serving a variety of parishes and teaching in seminaries as well as sustaining a full role in the two departments he has served. After 10 years at Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia, he moved to Monash University in 1979, where he now holds a Personal Chair of Sociology in the Department of Anthropology and Sociology, which is a rare honor for academics in Australia and indicates the high regard of his colleagues and university. He also has had a visiting four-year fellowship at the Australian National University with the Reshaping Australian Institutions Project.

His main interests include the sociology of religion in Australia, sociology of the family, and social science research methodology. He is the author of 16 books and many articles and chapters widely ranging over the sociology of religion, sociology of ministry, and sociology of theology. His research has primarily focused on the interaction between religion and society in Western societies including Canada, the United States, Australia, New Zealand, and Europe. These comparisons have been made quite real by extended periods of residence and serving parishes in a variety of countries. The insights gained by hands-on involvement in ministry and the opportunity to stand back and reflect is an important part of his personal sociological methodology.

Bouma's major research projects have included a sociology of conservative Calvinism, several studies of clergy, religion, and migration, and ongoing work on a sociology of theology. Following the publication of his Mosques and Muslim Settlement in Australia (AGPS 1994), he has begun a study of Buddhist settlement in Australia, and the role and place of Japanese religions (focusing on Mahikari and Zen). His current work includes a major study of religious plurality in multicultural Australia, the theory of institutions, and postmodernity as a context for doing theology.

James T. Richardson


G. Bouma, The Religious Factor in Australian Life (Melbourne: Marc, 1986)

G. Bouma, Religion (Melbourne: Longmans, 1992)

G. Bouma, "The Emergence of Religious Plurality in Australia," Sociology of Religion 56(1995):285-302.

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