I have been involved in half a dozen or so different research projects over the last decade, concerned with the status of religion in contemporary societies. My primary research focus has been on the role of religion within seemingly secular social spheres; I have carried out empirical research on the experiences of Muslims in Australia’s queer communities, on Evangelical punk, heavy metal, and hip hop musicians in secular music scenes in America, Australia, Britain, and South Africa, and on the status of religious ethics in the contemporary finance industry. I have also been involved in collaborative research through La Trobe University’s Centre for Dialogue (†2014) on Afghan-Australians and other minority communities in the context of inter-religious and inter-cultural dialogue, and in comparative research on the governance of religious and cultural diversity in Australia and Turkey. Most recently, I have turned my attention to the presence of Evangelicals in extreme sports youth culture. I am increasingly interested in the “post-secular” as a framework for understanding religion in the contemporary west. Rather than seeking to obfuscate or deconstruct a path beyond the sociologically unassailable reality of secularization, the “post-secular” nevertheless recognizes that studying religion within a framework that Charles Taylor refers to as a “subtraction story” fails to account for the continued social significance of religion in contemporary western societies.
In December 2016 I began a new collaborative research project based at the University of Helsinki called “The Morality of Success among the Emerging Black Middle Class in South Africa”. My work within this project will engage with South African Christians from the emerging black middle class, to understand how religious morality is embodied in everyday life in the hyper-diverse city of Cape Town.