Joel Thiessen

 Joel Thiessen
Address150 Ambrose Circle S.W.
Calgary, AB

Assistant Professor of Sociology, Ambrose Seminary

B.A., Nazarene University College,
M.A., University of Waterloo,
Ph.D., University of Waterloo,

As the son of a Baptist pastor, I have long been intrigued by the relationship between religious groups and individuals and the broader society. This curiosity is central to my teaching and research interests in the sociology of religion, especially religion and culture in Canada.

In my Master’s thesis I explored and challenged the assertions that Canada is experiencing a renaissance of religion and that we might witness increased involvement in religious organizations.

My current project, “Active and Marginal Religious Affiliates in Canada: Describing and Explaining the Gap,” builds on these conclusions. Based on forty interviews, this study improves our grasp of how Canadians subjectively understand their religious involvements by comparing the views of active religious affiliates (those who identify with a religious group and attend religious services nearly every week) and marginal religious affiliates (those who identify with a religious group and attend religious services primarily for religious holidays and rites of passage). What explains their higher and lower levels of religious involvement, what is the likelihood that marginal affiliates could eventually become active affiliates, how does this understanding help us to assess the degree of religiosity or secularity in Canada, and what can be said about the social and civil fabric of Canadian society?

Past and current funding sources include: University of Waterloo, Ontario Graduate Scholarship Program, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, and the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada.

Aside from my academic work I am married, I am an avid sports fan, and I am a drummer.

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