Sociological Association Section on
Sociology of Religion
Volume VII, Number 3
Spring 2000 Contents: Officers of the Section Chair: Council: Nancy T. Ammerman I can't wait to get to Anaheim! Getting back
to Disneyland is going to be a major nostalgia trip for me, after all those days
of my youth riding the Matterhorn and date nights watching Tinkerbell fly
through the night sky. Of course, I'll also be enjoying a rich array
of sociological fare, as well. As many of you, I'll arrive early to participate
in the meetings of the Association for the Sociology of Religion, which begin on
Friday. But the highlight will come on Monday night and Tuesday, when the
Religion Section reception and sessions will be held. Among the reasons to stay
through this final day of the ASA meetings: We are helping ASA to inaugurate a new
four-day schedule, with our Section activities placed on the fourth day. Given
the shorter overall schedule, I hope you will plan to include this rich day in
Anaheim in your meeting schedule. And when we're not in sessions, I'll see you
on Space Mountain!
Volume VII, Number 3 Spring 2000
Officers of the Section
Nancy T. Ammerman
I can't wait to get to Anaheim! Getting back to Disneyland is going to be a major nostalgia trip for me, after all those days of my youth riding the Matterhorn and date nights watching Tinkerbell fly through the night sky.
Of course, I'll also be enjoying a rich array of sociological fare, as well. As many of you, I'll arrive early to participate in the meetings of the Association for the Sociology of Religion, which begin on Friday. But the highlight will come on Monday night and Tuesday, when the Religion Section reception and sessions will be held. Among the reasons to stay through this final day of the ASA meetings:
We are helping ASA to inaugurate a new four-day schedule, with our Section activities placed on the fourth day. Given the shorter overall schedule, I hope you will plan to include this rich day in Anaheim in your meeting schedule.
And when we're not in sessions, I'll see you on Space Mountain!
Presider & Discussant: John Coleman, Loyola-Marymount, Los Angeles
Religion and Civil Society:
Findings from a national survey of faith based community organizing
Serving Up God? The
manifestations of religion in faith based social service organizations
Identity and Democracy: The Role of Religious and Cultural Values in Polish
Democracy Since 1989
The Urban Geography of
Religion and Race
Awakening an Identity:
Taiwanese Immigrants Becoming Buddhist in America
The Church and the Street:
Clergy Confront the Immediate Environment
For the Love of America and
Longing for Home: Isma’il al-Faruqi and the Emergence of the Muslim Immigrant
Minority of North America
The Effects of Attendance at
Multiracial Churches on the Individualism of European-American and
New Frontiers in the Study of Religion and Race
(jointly sponsored with the Section on Race and Ethnicity)
Presider: R. Stephen Warner
Panelists: Cheryl Townsend Gilkes, Colby College
Larry Mamiya, Vassar College
Peggy Levitt, Wellesley College
Henry Goldschmidt, New York University
Expanding the Study of Religious Identities
Presider: Nancy T. Ammerman, Hartford Seminary
Constructing the Survivor
Identity in a Religious Context
Consciousness and Religious Identity
Religious Identities in the
Light of the PostModern Challenge
1. Religion and Collective Identity
Table Presider: James Cavendish, University of South Florida
The Rhetoric of Black
Abolitionism: Moral Claims-Making and Collective Identity in the New York
This is True Biblical
Koinonia: The Construction and Maintenance of Multiculturalism and
Multiracialism in a New Evangelical Christian Congregation
Religion and Immigration in
Comparative Perspective: Salvadorans in Catholic and Evangelical Communities in
San Francisco, Phoenix, and Washington, D.C.
There's Still Plenty of Cloth
there to Wrap Myself In: The Fabric of Secular Jewish Identity
2. Religion, Family, and Community
Table Presider: Mike Leming, St. Olaf College
The Functions Religion May
Serve and The Conflicts It May Cause: Various Dimensions of Religion in the
Family and How They Affect Adolescent Delinquency
Religion and Community Among
the Elderly: The Relationship between the Religious Secular Characteristics of
the Elderly's Social Networks
3. Religion and Gender at Colleges and Universities
Table Presider: (pending)
I wear Red, I wear High Heels,
I AM a Chestnut Hill Woman: An Exploration of Catholic College Identity
Can Feminism and Religion
Co-Exist? Student Attitudes about Feminism and Discussion of Feminism at a
Conservative Religious University
4. Movements in Latin American Religion
Table Presider: Robert Woodberry, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
Who Commits to Latin
American Evangelicalism: Life Problems and Meaning Networks
The Origins of Liberation
Theology: A Framework for the Comparative-Historical Study of Progressive
5. Religion, Attitudes, and Decision-Making
Table Presider: William Mirola, Marian College
Testing the Convergence of
Religious Behavior and Beliefs, Social Attitudes, and Social Status of
Protestants and Catholics in the United States, 1972-1998: An Application of
Chaves's New Differentiation Theory
Advocacy: Three Religious Factors in Legislative Decision-Making
Exploring GenerationX Religiosity/Spirituality
Saturday August 18th, 8:30 AM
Presider: D. Paul Johnson, Texas Tech University
Discussant: James C. Cavendish, University of South Florida
Generational Differences and
Similarities in Religiosity, Spirituality, Socioeconomic Status, and
The Religious Identity of
Young Adult Catholics in the Context of Other Catholic Generations
Civic Engagement among
American Catholics, Especially the Post-Vatican II Generation
Catholic Identity: Are GenXers
Different from Other Birth Cohorts?
Mainstream Participants, Marginal Religions, and the New Age
Saturday, August 18th, 10:30 AM
Presider: Helen A. Berger, West Chester University
Wicca in Europe: Past, Present
New Age: Minority Religion
with Mainstream Appeal
Why Do Mainstream Social
Actors Get Involved in Marginal Religions?
Religion in the Lives of New Immigrants to California
Sunday August 19th, 8:30 AM
Presider: Jon Miller, University of Southern California
Religion and Health Seeking
Among Recent Latino Immigrants in the Los Angeles Area
A Comparison of Contemporary
Clergy Mobilization for the Labor Rights of New Immigrants and the Sanctuary
Movement of the 1980s
Religion as Protection from
‘Money, Money, Money’:
Organizational Changes in an Indian-American Christian Church
Indigenous Migrants and
Cultural Diversity: Ethnicity and Religion Among Mexican Immigrants in the U.S.
The Decentering And Recentering Of Religion In Urban Communities
Sunday, August 19th, 2:30 PM
Presider: William A. Mirola, Marian College
Decentering and Anticentering:
Tensions in Neighborhood Religious Life
The One and the Many: The
Domestication of Institutional Religion and the Negotiation of the Sacred in
Conversion, De-centers Criminological Identity, and e-centers the Relationship
between Sociology and Theology
Ethnic and Religious
Identities Among Urban University Asian Americans: A Preliminary Analysis
Vanderbilt University. The Department of Sociology invites applications for one 1-year or two 1-semester part-time Senior Lecturer positions. The Senior Lecturer(s) will teach: 1) a three-hour undergraduate course on American Social Movements in Fall 2001, commencing August 2001; 2) a three-hour undergraduate course on the Sociology of Religion in Spring 2002, commencing January 2002; or, 3) both courses. Applicants should submit a letter of interest in the position, curriculum vitae, and any supplemental material indicating promise or evidence of teaching excellence. Application materials, including three letters of recommendation, should be received by May 30, 2001. Vanderbilt is an Equal Opportunity - Affirmative Action Employer and women and minority candidates are encouraged to apply. Send all materials to Department Chair, Department of Sociology, 2301 Vanderbilt Place, VU Station B Box 351811, Nashville, TN 37235-1811. Information on the department, the College of Arts and Science, Vanderbilt University and e-mail addresses can be obtained on the Internet at http//www.vanderbilt.edu/AnS/sociology.
As a member of Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, The Polis Center is a service, education, and research institute focusing on a wide range of urban issues. The Project on Religion and Urban Culture (PRUC) of The Polis Center is a major religion project (funded by The Lilly Endowment, Inc.) that combines research, public teaching, and dissemination.
The research inquiries of the PRUC are undertaken by a multidisciplinary team collecting historical and field-based data on the religious landscape of metropolitan Indianapolis. Five books are currently under publishers’ reviews, with the lead volume tentatively entitled Sacred Circles and Public Squares: Religion Decentered and Recentered in Indianapolis and the Nation. This work focuses on urban change and the simultaneously changing role of religious authority in Protestant dominated Indianapolis over the 20th century. It takes up the challenge of disestablishment, showing that religious pluralism is real yet facing the considerable influence of the Protestant establishment. The complex relationship between public and private manifestations of religious life also challenges the secularization thesis. Researchers at the Center are exploring a wide variety of other topics as well. A number of articles exploring issues in government funding of faith-based organizations and congregations in different neighborhood settings have appeared, in addition to edited volumes on faith-based social services or the use of computers in historical study. Other journal articles under preparation concern the role of racially diverse congregations in cross-racial civic dialogue, the public voice of Catholicism in the new pluralism, and different forms of social capital in urban and suburban contexts. Historical topics of monograph length discuss social welfare in 20th century Indianapolis, suburban and religious ecological change, and a five-city comparison of religious regionalism.
One of the goals of PRUC has been to make academic inquiries public-friendly. Through the tools of public teaching, academic research findings are translated into forms that reach a wider audience. For example, The Polis Center is producing a second multi-part video series on religion and culture, has published books of photography and essays by local writers, and has sponsored workshops and conferences dealing with religion in public life.
What lessons have been learned? Because the Center is committed to bridging the academy-community gap, a type of co-learning, in which questions raised by community members are creatively mixed into the research process, takes place. However, challenges of dissemination persist because of reluctance on the part of congregational audiences, nonprofit groups, clergy, and civic leaders to participate in activities traditionally seen as "academic." One approach by the Center has been to find new ways of translating findings for presentation to public groups by using multimedia, brief newsletters, and web features. Activities have been hosted in congregations, schools, libraries, and other non-university settings to make them more inviting. Community leaders--including clergy, community organizations, and political and civic leaders--are regular participants in panel discussions with scholars.
Other experiments, not all successful, have included using community members or even high school students to help collect data in local neighborhoods. Academic training seems still to correlate with reliable results. However, new approaches are sought here as well since some clergy--African-American pastors and pastors of small, conservative congregations, for example--constitute important populations that have been difficult for scholars to reach.
The data from the PRUC--quantitative and qualitative data, historical and contemporary, on over 400 congregations and community organizations--is housed in ACCESS, SPSS, and NUD*IST. Selected quantitative data will be integrated into the SAVI database. These data are being prepared for scholarly use, through an application and approval process, and some limited public use under the Federal Research Guidelines for Human Subjects.
Nancy T. Ammerman
At least since January, the issue of "faith based initiatives" has been much in the news. We hear stories about how much religious organizations are already doing, about how eager they are to get government money, and -most of all - how they do a better job of delivering services and getting results. The only problem is that the vast majority of this debate is being conducted without the benefit of data (nothing new in Washington, I realize).
It's time for sociologists of religion to step up to the plate. A few studies have already contributed to our base of knowledge. Mark Chaves has given us solid numbers on what congregations are doing and how willing they would be to take government money. My own work has added detail on the existing connections between congregations and various types of social service organizations. But I know of no study that takes up the questions surrounding efficiency and efficacy. Do religious organizations do it more efficiently and "better"?
Nor do I know of any studies that ask the more difficult questions about just what it means, on the ground, for a service to be "faith based." We can have no idea how we really ought to respond to the public policy questions about church-state entanglement unless we have a more accurate picture of how service organizations differ in their practice -- religious v secular, separately-organized 501c3 v congregation-based, evangelical v Catholic v liberal Protestant, etc.
Because this has become a major public policy issue, big funders are in the game. What we need now are the skills of sociological researchers and the insights of scholars who understand the religious domain.
Lee, Daniel B. Old Order Mennonites: Rituals, Beliefs, and Community. Burnham, 2000.
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