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BSc Econ, PhD – University of Wales, Swansea


Paul Chambers is currently a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Sociology, University of Glamorgan and he has been active since 1994 in research on various aspects of religion, civil society, identity, social networks and the nature of symbolic boundaries in Wales. His initial postgraduate research (1994 -1997) on religious institutions in south-west Wales was funded by the Economic and Social Research Council and carried out under the auspices of the Department of Sociology and Anthropology, University of Wales Swansea. He was awarded his PhD in 2000 for a thesis entitled ‘Factors in Church Growth and Decline’.

In 1997 he joined the Cardiff and Bristol Universities ESRC funded Learning Society Project (Grant N. L123251041) as a research associate with primary responsibility for planning and administering qualitative interviews, before joining the University of Glamorgan, initially as a part-time lecturer and later as research assistant. From 2002-2006 he was a research fellow in the Centre for Civil Society Studies and the Centre for Border Studies. A member of the British Sociological Association’s Sociology of Religion Study Group since 1995, he is currently Conference Organiser and has regularly contributed papers for the group’s annual conferences and study days. A recurrent leitmotif in his research and publications has been the relationship between religion and identity, particularly Welsh national identity. He has produced a number of published or soon to be published conference papers on this theme and in terms of publications has an increasingly international profile.

In recent years, and in collaboration with Dr Andrew Thompson, these themes have been developed in the direction of exploring the relationship between religious and political institutions and civil society (including interfaith networks). With a research grant from the Glamorgan Policy Centre, Thompson and Chambers collaborated in 2001 on empirical research which examined the relationship between faith groups (both Christian and non-Christian) and the National Assembly for Wales. A number of jointly authored papers emerged out of this research and this research partially informed two recent publications by Chambers on religious diversity and tolerance in Wales and a theoretical paper on the relationship between religious ideology and human rights.

More recently, he has written extensively on Islam in Wales and in Europe, with particular emphasis on human rights issues as they affect European Muslims. He has also been active in the field of congregational studies and was commissioned by the University of Wales Press to write a monograph on contemporary religious change in Wales, published in 2005. He has also acted as an academic referee for The Journal of Contemporary Religion, as a reviewer for both the Journal of Contemporary Religion, Theology and The Journal of Implicit Religion, as a rapporteur for the Economic and Social Research Council, and as a referee for ESRC and AHRC research proposals. He has recently joined the editorial board of the Journal of Anarchist Studies. He received a URIS grant in 2008 to undertake research into the life experiences of Polish migrants in Wales and will be disseminating the first findings from this project at the upcoming BSA conference in Cardiff. He has also recently acted in an advisory and advocacy role for the Evangelical Alliance Wales in its relations with the Welsh Assembly Government.


Senior Lecturer
Module Leader: Conflict Crisis and Change, Violence & Society, Conflict, War & Peace,
Member of RAP and FQAQ.


Selected Publications
Chambers, P. (2005) Religion, Secularization and Social Change in Wales, Cardiff: University of Wales Press.

Journal articles
Chambers, P. (2011) ‘The Changing face of Religion in Wales’, The Expository Times, 122:6, pp. 271- 279.
Chambers, P. Thompson. A. Dunkerley, D, Doleczek, L (2010) ‘Welcome to Llaneski: Polish Migration in South West Wales’ Contemporary Wales, 23, pp. 1-16.
Chambers, P. and LaPorte, N. (2009) ‘Guest Editorial – Syndicalist Special Issue’, Anarchist Studies, Vol. 17:2 pp.6-11.
Chambers, P. (2008) ’Out of Taste, Out of Time: The Future of Nonconformist Religion in Wales in the Twenty-first Century’, Contemporary Wales, 21, pp. 86-100.
Chambers, P. (2006) ’Anarchism, anti-clericalism and religions’, Anarchist Studies, Vol.14:1 pp. 36-47.
Chambers, P. (2006) ’Secularization, Wales and Islam’, Journal for Contemporary Religion, Vol. 21: 3 pp. 325-340.
Chambers, P. and Thompson A. (2005) ’Public Religion and Political Change in Wales’, Sociology, Vol. 39:1 pp. 29-46.
Chambers, P. and Thompson A. (2005) ’Coming to terms with the past: religion and identity in Wales’, Social Compass Vol. 52:3 pp. 337-352.
Chambers, P. (2001) ’Managing Change: Social and Religious Change in Swansea’, Anthropology in Action: Journal for Applied Anthropology in Policy and Practice, Vol. 8/3: 10-15.

Non-peer reviewed journal articles
Chambers, P. (2004) ’Islam in Wales’ in Planet: The Welsh Internationalist Vol. 168 Dec/Jan pp.49-53.
Chambers, P. (2003) ’The Long Shadow – Religion and Identity’ in Planet: The Welsh Internationalist Vol.158 April/May pp. 85-90.

Book Chapters
Chambers, P. (in press 2011) ‘Economic Factors in Church Growth and Decline in South and West Wales’ in D. Goodhew (ed) Church Growth 1980- 2011(Provisional title), Aldershot: Ashgate.
Chambers, P. (2007) ’Contentious Headscarves; Spirituality and the State in the Twenty-First Century’, in K. Flanagan & P. Jupp (eds.) A Sociology of Spirituality, Aldershot: Ashgate.
Chambers, P. (2006) ’Secularization and Welsh Religiosity’ in Religiosität in der säkularisierten Welt; Theoretische und empirirische Beiträge zur Säkularisierungs – debate in der Religionsoziologie. M. Franzmann, C. Gardner & N.Köck, (eds.) Wiesbaden: Vs Verlag Für Soziologie.
Chambers, P. (2006) ’Secularization: Human Rights and Sacred Texts’ in Reading Religion in Text and Context: Reflections of Faith and Practice in Religious Materials. E. Arweck & P.Collins (eds.) Aldershot: Ashgate.
Chambers, P. (2006) ’Sacred Landscapes, Redundant Chapels and Carpet Warehouses: the religious heritage of South West Wales’ in Materialising Religion: Expression, Performance and Ritual, E. Arweck & W. Keenan (eds.). Aldershot: Ashgate.
Chambers, P. and Thompson A. (2006) ’Public Religion and Civil Society in Wales’ in Civil Society in Wales: Politics, Policy and People, G. Day, D., Dunkerley & A. Thompson. (eds.) Cardiff: University of Wales Press.
Chambers, P. (2005) ’Power in the Local Church’ in Studying Local Churches: A Handbook. H. Cameron, P. Richter, D. Davies and F. Ward. (eds.) London: SCM.
Chambers, P. (2004) ’Social Networks and Religious Identity: An Historical Example from Wales’ in Predicting Religion: Christian, Secular and Alternative Futures, G. Davie, L. Woodhead & P. Heelas (eds.). Aldershot: Ashgate.
Chambers, P. (2004) ’Religion, Identity and Change in Contemporary Wales’ in Religion, Identity and Change: British perspectives on global transformations, S. Coleman & P. Collins (eds.) Aldershot: Ashgate.
Chambers, P. (2004) ’The Effects of Evangelical Growth on Congregational Identities’ in Congregational Studies in the UK, M. Guest, K. Tusting & L. Woodhead (eds.) Aldershot: Ashgate.
Chambers, P. (2003) ’Religious Diversity in Wales’ in A Tolerant Nation? Exploring Ethnic Diversity in Wales, C. Williams, N. Evans and P. O’Leary (eds.), Cardiff: University of Wales Press.
Chambers, P. (1997) ’On or Off the Bus: Identity, Belonging and Schism; a Case Study of a Neo-Pentecostal Housechurch’ in Charismatic Christianity: Sociological Perspectives, M. Hamilton, S. Hunt & T. Walter, (eds.) London: Macmillan.


British Sociological Association



Migrant Careers: Social Networks, Institutional Hubs and Integration’, BSA Annual Conference Cardiff 2009
‘Migrant Careers in South West Wales’Social Policy Association Conference Edinburgh 2009
‘Economic Migrant Careers in Wales’, Inequalities and Migration Workshop, Poznan, Poland 2009
‘Shall I stay or shall I go’ Presentation to the Office for National Statistics, Newport 2009
‘It’s the Economy Stupid: Wales, Secularization and Religion in the 21st Century’ BSA SOCREL Conference, Edinburgh 2010.
Keynote Speaker, ‘Temporariness, Temporality and Migratory Drift’. Migration, Ethnicty and Idendity Conference’ Bangor University 2012

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