Religious Studies

profile image for Professor Gordon Lynch

Professor Gordon Lynch

Michael Ramsey Professor of Modern Theology

School Director of Research

Office: Cornwallis North West 210


The broad focus of my research over the past twenty years has been on the role of moral meanings in shaping social life. In my most recent work, this has led me to investigate the moral meanings invested in welfare interventions into the lives of children that have sought to remove them from environments considered to be socially and morally corrupting. My last book, Remembering Child Migration: Faith, Nation-Building and the Wounds of Charity (Bloomsbury, 2015) examined the history of child migration schemes based in the United Kingdom and North America, and analysed how the moral cultures of these schemes contributed to environments in which children were exposed to various forms of harm. I’m also interested in the moral work that is done through processes of remembering historic child abuse today.

My current project is a more detailed study of post-War British child migration schemes to Australia that will analyse the different cultures and working methods of the various organisations funding and delivering them and set these in the wider context of developments in the post-War out-of-home care of children.

I have a range of experience of public engagement work with other organisations. I was the academic curator for the 2014/15 exhibition, ‘On Their Own: Britain’s Child Migrants’, at the V&A Museum of Childhood, which attracted 310,000 visitors and an associated on-line and broadcast media audience of 17 million people. The exhibition received positive reviews in all major British broadsheet newspapers and was also the subject of items on BBC Radio 2’s Jeremy Vine Show and Radio 4’ PM programme.

In conjunction with the exhibition, I also worked with the production company, Smooth Operations, to develop an album of newly-commissioned folk songs reflecting the experiences of British child migrants. Featuring award-winning musicians such as John McCusker, Chris While and Julie Matthews, and Boo Hewerdine, the album had a premiere performance at the Royal Concert Halls in Glasgow in January 2015. Music from the album is also featuring in a Radio 2 dramatization of Michael Morpurgo’s ‘All Alone on a Wide, Wide Sea’, scheduled to be broadcast in 2017.

I also have a long-standing collaboration with the BAFTA award-winning educational charity, TrueTube, which produces open access online films for Key-Stage 3 and 4 in religious education, citizenship and PSHE. We have so far worked on six films together, two of which have been short-listed for national religious broadcasting awards by the Sandford St Martin Trust and one of which, on the Magdalene Laundries, won a BUFVC national Learning on Screen award in 2014.

My earlier research has focused on forms of moral meaning beyond institutional religion. I have written on the ways in which contemporary social life is shaped by symbolic constructions of the sacred and profane, ‘new spiritualities’ and the ways in which moral meanings are constructed through media and popular culture. I am a Faculty Fellow at the Center for Cultural Sociology at Yale University, and have previously served as Chair of the British Sociological Association’s Sociology of Religion Study Group and the co-Chair of the Religion, Media and Culture Group within the American Academy of Religion.

My doctoral students work broadly in the cultural study of religion. A number of them have received AHRC doctoral studentships for their projects including three through the old Collaborative Doctoral Award scheme. Current and recent projects include the formation of women’s subjectivities in Magdalene Laundries in post-independence Ireland, contemporary conservative Evangelical subjectivities in London, ordinary ethics in the context of student activism at British universities in relation to Palestine-Israel, visitor engagement with religious objects at the British Museum, the meanings and uses of 'natural birth', the role of PR in the construction of media narratives about Islam and the transmission of Catholicism in a secondary school.

back to top


Also view these in the Kent Academic Repository

Lynch, G. (2015). Remembering Child Migration Faith: Nation-Building and the Wounds of Charity. [Online]. Bloomsbury Academic. Available at:
Lynch, G. (2012). The Sacred in the Modern World: A Cultural Sociological Approach. [Online]. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Available at:
Lynch, G. (2012). On the Sacred. [Online]. London: Acumen. Available at:
Lynch, G. (2007). New Spirituality: An Introduction to Belief Beyond Religion. London: I.B.Tauris & Co Ltd.
Lynch, G. (2004). Understanding Theology and Popular Culture. Oxford: Blackwell.
Lynch, G. (2003). Losing My Religion: Exploring the Process of Moving on from Evangelical Faith. London: Darton, Longman & Todd.
Lynch, G. (2002). Pastoral Care and Counselling. London: Sage Publications Ltd.
Lynch, G. (2002). After Religion: 'Generation X' and the Search for Meaning. London: Darton, Longman & Todd.
Edited book
Lynch, G. and Lövheim, M. (2011). The Mediatisation of Religion. [Journal]. Lynch, G. and Lövheim, M. eds. Taylor and Francis. Available at:
Lynch, G., Mitchell, J. and Strhan, A. eds. (2011). Religion, Media and Culture: A Reader. Abingdon: Routledge.
Lynch, G. ed. (2007). Between Sacred and Profane: Researching Religion and Popular Culture. London: I.B.Tauris & Co Ltd.
Foskett, J. and Lynch, G. (2001). Pastoral Counselling in Britain. [Special Issue of Journal]. Lynch, G. and Foskett, J. eds. Abingdon: Routledge.
Lynch, G. and Lees, J. eds. (1999). Clinical Counselling in Pastoral Settings. London: Routledge.
Lynch, G. (2014). Saving the Child for the Sake of the Nation: Moral Framing and the Civic, Moral and Religious Redemption of Children. American Journal of Cultural Sociology [Online] 2:165-196. Available at:
Lynch, G. and Sheldon, R. (2013). The Sociology of the Sacred: A Conversation with Jeffrey Alexander. Culture and Religion [Online] 14:253-267. Available at:
Day, A. and Lynch, G. (2013). Introduction: Belief as Cultural Performance.: Special issue of the Journal of Contemporary Religion, 28:2, edited by Gordon Lynch and Abby Day. Journal of Contemporary Religion [Special Issue of Journal] 28:199-206. Available at:
Lövheim, M. and Lynch, G. (2011). The Mediatisation of Religion Debate: An Introduction. Culture and Religion [Online] 12:111-117. Available at:
Lynch, G. (2011). What can we Learn from the Mediatisation of Religion Debate? Culture and Religion [Online] 12:203-210. Available at:
Beck, G. and Lynch, G. (2009). 'We Are All One, We Are All Gods': Negotiating Spirituality in the Conscious Partying Movement. Journal of Contemporary Religion [Online] 24:339-355. Available at:
Campbell, H., Lynch, G. and Ward, P. (2009). "Can You Hear the Army?" Exploring Evangelical Discourse in Scottish Youth Prayer Meetings. Journal of Contemporary Religion [Online] 24:219-236. Available at:
Lynch, G. and Badger, E. (2006). The Mainstream Post-Rave Club Scene As a Secondary Institution: A British Perspective. Culture and Religion [Online] 7:27-40. Available at:
Lynch, G. (2006). The Role of Popular Music in the Construction of Alternative Spiritual Identities and Ideologies. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion [Online] 45:481-488. Available at:
Lynch, G. and Pattison, S. (2005). Exploring Positive Learning Experiences in the Context of Practical Theological Education. Teaching Theology and Religion [Online] 8:144-154. Available at:
Lynch, G. (1998). The Application of Self-psychology to Short-term Counselling. Psychodynamic Counselling [Online] 4:473-485. Available at:
Lynch, G. (1998). Counselling and the Dislocation of Representation and Reality. British Journal of Guidance & Counselling [Online] 26:525-531. Available at:
Lynch, G. (1997). The Oedipus Complex in the Work of Sigmund Freud and Heinz Kohut: A Post-modern Critique. Psychodynamic Counselling [Online] 3:371-385. Available at:
Lynch, G. (1997). Therapeutic Theory and Social Context: A Social Constructionist Perspective. British Journal of Guidance & Counselling [Online] 25:5-15. Available at:
Book section
Lynch, G. (2012). Living with Two Cultural Turns: The Case of the Study of Religion. in: Roseneil, S. and Frosh, S. eds. Social Research after the Cultural Turn. Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 73-92. Available at:
Lynch, G. (2012). Media and the Sacred: An Evaluation of the 'Strong Program' within Cultural Sociology. in: Gillespie, M., Herbert, D. E. J. and Greenhill, A. eds. Social Media, Religion and Spirituality. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter & Co, pp. 16-35.
Lynch, G. and Brown, C. (2012). Cultural Perspectives. in: Woodhead, L. and Catto, R. eds. Religion and Change in Modern Britain. Abingdon: Routledge, pp. 329-351.
Lynch, G. (2010). Generation X Religion: A Critical Approach. in: Collins-Mayo, S. and Dandelion, P. eds. Religion and Youth. Farnham: Ashgate, pp. 33-38.
Lynch, G. (2009). Cultural Theory and Cultural Studies. in: Lyden, J. ed. The Routledge Companion to Religion and Film. Abingdon: Routledge, pp. 275-291.
Lynch, G. (2009). Object Theory: Toward an Intersubjective, Mediated and Dynamic Theory of Religion. in: Morgan, D. ed. Religion and Material Culture: The Matter of Belief. Abingdon and New York: Routledge, pp. 40-55. Available at:
Lynch, G. (2009). Religion, Media and Cultures of Everyday Life. in: Hinnells, J. ed. The Routledge Companion to the Study of Religion. Abingdon: Routledge, pp. 543-557.
Lynch, G. (2008). Religious Experience and Popular Culture: Developing a Critical Frame of Enquiry. in: Zock, T. H. ed. At the Crossroads of Art and Religion: Imagination, Commitment, Transcendence. Leuven, Belgium: Peeters Publishers, pp. 71-84.
Lynch, G. (2008). The Dreams of the Autonomous and Reflexive Self: Exploring the Religious Significance of Contemporary Lifestyle Media. in: Spalek, B. and Imtoual, A. eds. Religion, Spirituality and the Social Sciences: Challenging Marginalisation. Bristol: Policy Press, pp. 63-76.
Lynch, G. (2007). Film and the Subjective Turn: How the Sociology of Religion can Contribute to Theological Readings of Film. in: Johnston, R. K. ed. Reframing Theology and Film: New Focus for an Emerging Discipline. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Academic, pp. 109-125.
Lynch, G. (2007). What is This "Religion" in the Study of Religion and Popular Culture? in: Lynch, G. ed. Between Sacred and Profane: Researching Religion and Popular Culture. London: I B Tauris & Co Ltd, pp. 125-142.
Lynch, G. (2006). Beyond Conversion: Exploring the Process of Moving Away from Evangelical Christianity. in: Partridge, C. and Reid, H. eds. Finding and Losing Faith: Studies in Conversion. Milton Keynes: Paternoster Press, pp. 23-38.
Lynch, G. and Pattison, S. (2005). Pastoral and Practical Theology. in: Ford, D. F. and Muers, R. eds. The Modern Theologians. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, pp. 408-426.
Lynch, G. (2005). Theologie säkularer Kultur. in: Betz, H. D. et al. eds. Religion in Geschichte und Gegenwart. Tübingen: J.C.B. Mohr (Paul Siebeck).
Lynch, G. (2015). British Child Migration to Australia: A Historical Overview. Child Migration Project.
Total publications in KAR: 42 [See all in KAR]
back to top


Gordon Lynch teaches modules on the sacred and on the sociology of religion.

back to top

Religious Studies, School of European Culture and Languages, University of Kent, Canterbury, Kent, CT2 7NF

Enquiries: +44 (0)1227 827159 or email Religious Studies

Last Updated: 04/09/2017