Everyday Religion: Observing Modern Religious Lives

Paperback | December 28, 2006

EditorNancy T. Ammerman

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Social scientists sometimes seem not to know what to do with religion. In the first century of sociology's history as a discipline, the reigning concern was explaining the emergence of the modern world, and that brought with it an expectation that religion would simply fade from the scene associeties became diverse, complex, and enlightened. As the century approached its end, however, a variety of global phenomena remained dramatically unexplained by these theories. Among the leading contenders for explanatory power to emerge at this time were rational choice theories of religiousbehavior. Researchers who have spent time in the field observing religious groups and interviewing practitioners, however, have questioned the sufficiency of these market models. Studies abound that describe thriving religious phenomena that fit neither the old secularization paradigm nor theequations predicting vitality only among organizational entrepreneurs with strict orthodoxies. In this collection of previously unpublished essays, scholars who have been immersed in field research in a wide variety of settings draw on those observations from the field to begin to develop morehelpful ways to study religion in modern lives. The authors examine how religion functions on the ground in a pluralistic society, how it is experienced by individuals, and how it is expressed in social institutions. Taken as a whole, these essays point to a new approach to the study of religion,one that emphasizes individual experience and social context over strict categorization and data collection.

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Social scientists sometimes seem not to know what to do with religion. In the first century of sociology's history as a discipline, the reigning concern was explaining the emergence of the modern world, and that brought with it an expectation that religion would simply fade from the scene associeties became diverse, complex, and enlig...

Nancy T. Ammerman is Professor of Sociology of Religion at the School of Theology, and Professor of Religion at Boston University. She is the past president of the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion.
Format:PaperbackDimensions:256 pages, 5.98 × 9.09 × 1.18 inPublished:December 28, 2006Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195305418

ISBN - 13:9780195305418

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Table of Contents

Peter L. Berger: ForewordContributorsIntroductionPart I: Tradition Dislodged but Not Lost1. Grace Davie: Vicarious Religion: A Methodical Challenge2. Enzo Pace: Religion as Communication: The Changing Shape of Catholicism in Europe3. Lynn Davidman: The New Voluntarism and the Case of Unsynagogued Jews4. Lynn Schofield Clark: Religion, Twice Removed: Exploring the Role of Media in Religious Understandings among "Secular" Young People5. Mia Lovheim: Virtually Boundless? Youth Negotiating Tradition in cyberspacePart II: Religion "Out of Place"6. Peggy Levitt: Redefining the Boundaries of Belonging: The Transnationalization of Religious Life7. Ziad Munson: When a Funeral Isn't Just a Funeral: The Layered Meaning of Everyday Action8. Paul Lichterman: A Place on the Map: Communicating Religious Presence in Civic Life9. John P. Bartkowski: Connections and Contradictions: Exploring the Complex Linkages between Faith and FamilyPart III: Producing Everyday Religious Lives10. Kelly Besecke: Beyond Literalism: Reflexive Spirituality and Religious Meaning11. Meredith McGuire: Embodied Practices: Negotiation and Resistance12. Courtney J. Bender: Touching the Transcendent: Rethinking Religious Experience in the Sociological Study of Religion13. Nancy T. Ammerman: Studying Everyday Religion: Challenges for the FutureIndex

Editorial Reviews

"This book plots a new agenda for understanding religion in contemporary society. Based on case studies in both Europe and the United States, the poverty of rational-choice explanations of religion is exposed, along with the inadequacy of charting religious change by surveying beliefs andpatterns of institutional affiliation. Pluralism may challenge traditional perceptions of religion, but it certainly has not led to the demise religion if one examines what people do in everyday life. This is a wonderful collection of essays, framed by Ammerman's brilliant opening and closingchapters." --Donald E. Miller, Professor of Religion and Executive Director of the Center for Religion and Civic Culture, University of Southern California