Remembering James A. Beckford

In his early career, Beckford held teaching post at the Universities of Reading and Durham and at Loyola University Chicago. He founded the British Sociological Association’s Study Group for the Sociology of Religion in 1975, serving as its chairman from 1978 to 1983. From 1982 to 1983, Beckford was a Senior Fulbright Fellow at the University of California, Berkeley. From 1982 to 1986, he was President of the International Sociological Association Research Committee 22, and in 1988-1989 served as the President of the Association for the Sociology of Religion. He joined the University of Warwick in 1989. From 1999 to 2003, he was the President of the International Society for the Sociology of Religion. He also taught as a Visiting Professor in Paris, at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales in 2001 and at the Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes in 2004.

Beckford was the editor of Current Sociology from 1980 to 1987, the Vice President for Publications of the International Sociological Association from 1994 to 1998, and a member of the editorial board of the British Journal of Sociology. He chaired the management committee of INFORM (Informational Network Focus on Religious Movements), a British charity set up by sociologist Eileen Barker with the support of Britain’s mainstream churches to provide the public with information on new religious movements, and was co-vice chairman of the charity’s board of governors.

In 2017, Beckford was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award for Contributions to the Sociology of Religion by the Association for the Sociology of Religion.