Contemporary American Religion: An Ethnographic Reader

Contemporary American Religion: An Ethnographic Reader

by Penny Edgell
     
 

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No single narrative or theory can describe the varieties of religious experience in North America today. The tidy dichotomies of liberal/ conservative, public/private, local/global, and renewal/secularization make little sense once specific congregations are examined closely. To understand the shifting boundaries of contemporary religious expressions, new tools are

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Overview

No single narrative or theory can describe the varieties of religious experience in North America today. The tidy dichotomies of liberal/ conservative, public/private, local/global, and renewal/secularization make little sense once specific congregations are examined closely. To understand the shifting boundaries of contemporary religious expressions, new tools are needed. Contemporary American Religion collects qualitative, on-the-ground studies of local congregations by up-and-coming religious scholars. Ethnography combined with more traditional sociological methods, help make sense of complex religious communities—from Messianic Jews to evangelical feminists, from Gospel Hour at a gay bar to exurban megachurches. This collection covers a wide span of the religious landscape, always trying to uncover new theoretical insights. Essential reading for classes in sociology of religion, contemporary American religion, and anthropology of religion.

Editorial Reviews

Review Of Religious Research
Contemporary American Religion is an ambitious anthology that, among its other aims, makes a compelling case for the importance of ethnographic research in the study of religious communities....This volume exhibits a keen sensitivity to religious transformation in America complemented by an awareness of changing scholarly conceptions of theory, ethnography, and cultural analysis.
— John P. Bartkowski, University of Texas at San Antonio
Religious Studies Review
Although many readers may finish this collection by agreeing with R. Wuthnow that 'ethnography is itself a highly diverse set of techniques and practices,' all will have been treated to an interesting, indeed fascinating 'read.' This is a book that could well be used as a discussion resource in college-level classes on American religion.
— John T. Ford, (Catholic University of America)
Nova Religio:Journal Of Alternative And Emergent Religions
These essays...demonstrate the range of approaches—qualitative and quantitative, interview and archival—that characterize ethnographic research. The result is an anthology with all the descriptive richness and multiplicity of postmodern scholarship. But these essays successfully avoid the postmodern pitfall of neglecting theory building. With the help of the editors' useful introduction and Wuthnow's challenging conclusion, they work well together to question existing models of American religious life, suggest new ones and further the restructuring of the field.
— Bret E. Carroll, (California State University, Stanislaus)
Review of Religious Research - John P. Bartkowski
Contemporary American Religion is an ambitious anthology that, among its other aims, makes a compelling case for the importance of ethnographic research in the study of religious communities....This volume exhibits a keen sensitivity to religious transformation in America complemented by an awareness of changing scholarly conceptions of theory, ethnography, and cultural analysis.
Religious Studies Review - John T. Ford
Although many readers may finish this collection by agreeing with R. Wuthnow that 'ethnography is itself a highly diverse set of techniques and practices,' all will have been treated to an interesting, indeed fascinating 'read.' This is a book that could well be used as a discussion resource in college-level classes on American religion.
Nova Religio: The Journal Of Alternative And Emergent Religions - Bret E. Carroll
These essays...demonstrate the range of approaches—qualitative and quantitative, interview and archival—that characterize ethnographic research. The result is an anthology with all the descriptive richness and multiplicity of postmodern scholarship. But these essays successfully avoid the postmodern pitfall of neglecting theory building. With the help of the editors' useful introduction and Wuthnow's challenging conclusion, they work well together to question existing models of American religious life, suggest new ones and further the restructuring of the field.
Booknews
Collects qualitative studies of local congregations in order to uncover new theoretical insights into the shifting boundaries of contemporary religious expression. Ten contributions combine cultural and institutional forms of analysis with more traditional sociological methods to help make sense of complex religious communities<-->from Messianic Jews to evangelical feminists, from Gospel Hour at a gay bar to exurban megachurches. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780761991953
Publisher:
AltaMira Press
Publication date:
11/04/1997
Pages:
272
Product dimensions:
6.26(w) x 9.24(h) x 0.86(d)

Meet the Author

Penny Edgell: Cornell University Nancy L. Eiesland: Emory University

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