Living Faith: Everyday Religion and Mothers in Poverty

Paperback | February 13, 2012

bySusan Crawford Sullivan

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Scholars have made urban mothers living in poverty a focus of their research for decades. These women’s lives can be difficult as they go about searching for housing and decent jobs and struggling to care for their children while surviving on welfare or working at low-wage service jobs and sometimes facing physical or mental health problems. But until now little attention has been paid to an important force in these women’s lives: religion.
 
Based on in-depth interviews with women and pastors, Susan Crawford Sullivan presents poor mothers’ often overlooked views. Recruited from a variety of social service programs, most of the women do not attend religious services, due to logistical challenges or because they feel stigmatized and unwanted at church. Yet, she discovers, religious faith often plays a strong role in their lives as they contend with and try to make sense of the challenges they face. Supportive religious congregations prove important for women who are involved, she finds, but understanding everyday religion entails exploring beyond formal religious organizations.
 
Offering a sophisticated analysis of how faith both motivates and at times constrains poor mothers’ actions, Living Faith reveals the ways it serves as a lens through which many view and interpret their worlds.

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Scholars have made urban mothers living in poverty a focus of their research for decades. These women’s lives can be difficult as they go about searching for housing and decent jobs and struggling to care for their children while surviving on welfare or working at low-wage service jobs and sometimes facing physical or mental health pro...

Susan Crawford Sullivan is assistant professor of sociology and an Edward Bennett Williams Fellow at the College of the Holy Cross.

other books by Susan Crawford Sullivan

A Vision of Justice: Engaging Catholic Social Teaching on the College Campus
A Vision of Justice: Engaging Catholic Social Teaching ...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:288 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.8 inPublished:February 13, 2012Publisher:University Of Chicago PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0226781615

ISBN - 13:9780226781617

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Extra Content

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
1          Introduction: Listening to Poor Mothers about Religion
2          Building Blocks: Theory, Religious Practices, and Churches
3          “God Made Somebody Think of Welfare Reform”: Religion, Welfare, and Work
4          “I Send Him to Church with My Mother”: Religion and Parenting
5          “God Has a Plan”: Making Meaning
6          “I Don’t Get to Church Anymore”: Capacity, Stigma and Exit, and Religious Individualism
7          The Church in the City: Impressions from Urban Pastors
8          Conclusion: Everyday Religion and Mothers in Poverty
Appendix A: Background Information for Study Participants Interviewed
Appendix B: Methodology
Notes
References
Index

Editorial Reviews

“Living Faith offers a thoughtful parsing of religious ‘coping’ as a multidimensional and multidirectional phenomenon. It usefully conceptualizes religious practices that are salient to the book’s subjects as well as to broader religious publics. This highly original treatment of the role of religion in the lives of low-income women will be read widely, and for a very long time, by students of inequality, religion, gender, urban institutions, welfare policy, and more.”