A Bridging of Faiths: Religion and Politics in a New England City

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Homelessness, neighborhood development, problems of abortion and sex education - how does religion affect the politics of an American city confronting these and other concerns? And what differences have "church and state" issues made in these struggles? In answering such questions, A Bridging of Faiths conveys a feeling of the urgent social theater of Springfield, Massachusetts, and provides both a contemporary and historical sense of how power shapes and is shaped by the civic culture. Recalling the immediacy ...
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Princeton, NJ 1992 Hard cover New in new dust jacket. Sewn binding. Paper over boards. 358 p. Studies in Church & State. Audience: General/trade.

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1992 Hard cover New in New dust jacket. Sewn binding. Paper over boards. 358 p. Studies in Church & State.

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Overview

Homelessness, neighborhood development, problems of abortion and sex education - how does religion affect the politics of an American city confronting these and other concerns? And what differences have "church and state" issues made in these struggles? In answering such questions, A Bridging of Faiths conveys a feeling of the urgent social theater of Springfield, Massachusetts, and provides both a contemporary and historical sense of how power shapes and is shaped by the civic culture. Recalling the immediacy and provocativeness of classic community studies like Middletown and Yankee City, the work draws on the voices of Springfielders themselves, while it exposes tendencies that prevail throughout contemporary America. This is a tale of two establishments: Protestant for three centuries, Springfield has been for last fifty years a Catholic city. In looking at its emerging demographic, political, and economic patterns, the book shows how church and state interact at the local level, where lives are actually lived, as opposed to how the law and public opinion say they ought to interact at the more abstract federal level. While religion is more politically influential than some social scientists might have expected, it does not possess the kind of power feared by many constitutionalists. Politicians are seeking to redefine themselves in relation to government, bureaucracy, race, ethnicity, class, gender, and religion itself, and while Protestantism has declined and Catholicism surged, religion as a whole faces subtle crises of mobility, authority, and secularization. From these complexities, new patterns of cultural and political authority have emerged in Springfield, similar to those now affecting other American communities and the nation.

Recalling classic community studies like Middletown and Yankee City, this work draws on the concerns of Sringfield, Massachusetts, which exposes tendencies that prevail throughout contemporary America. A feeling of the city's social theater gives a contemporary and historical sense of how power shapes and is shaped by the civic culture.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780691074139
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press
  • Publication date: 7/13/1992
  • Series: Studies in Church and State
  • Pages: 380
  • Product dimensions: 6.44 (w) x 9.54 (h) x 1.18 (d)

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
List of Tables
Foreword
Acknowledgments
Ch. 1 Approaching Springfield 3
Ch. 2 From Meetinghouse to Cathedral 22
Ch. 3 High Rollers and High Rises 58
Ch. 4 Corner Church and City-State 97
Ch. 5 Homelessness in the City of Homes 141
Ch. 6 Covenant in the Crucible of Race 173
Ch. 7 Sexuality and Sectarianism 214
Ch. 8 Bridging the Gaps 255
Appendix A: A Methodological Postscript 303
Appendix B: The Springfield Questionnaire and Follow-Up Appeals to Sample Respondents 319
Appendix C: Statistical Addenda 331
Bibliography 347
Index 355
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