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Divine Hierarchies: Class in American Religion and Religious Studies / Edition 1

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Overview

Placing the neglected issue of class back into the study and understanding of religion, Sean McCloud reconsiders the meaning of class in today's world. More than a status grounded in material conditions, says McCloud, class is also an identity rhetorically and symbolically made and unmade through representations. It entails relationships, identifications, boundaries, meanings, power, and our most ingrained habits of mind and body. He demonstrates that employing class as an analytical tool that cuts across variables such as creed, race, ethnicity, and gender can illuminate American religious life in unprecedented ways.

Through social theory, historical analysis, and ethnography, McCloud makes an interdisciplinary argument for reinserting class into the study of religion. First, he offers a new three-part conception of class for use in studying religion. He then presents a focused cultural history of religious studies by examining how social class surfaced in twentieth-century theories of religious affiliation. He concludes with historical and ethnographic case studies of religion and class. Divine Hierarchies makes a convincing case for the past and present importance of class in American religious thought, practice, and scholarship.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"McCloud has taken the lead among scholars eager to reinsert class into studies of American religion. . . . McCloud provides us with a better tool for sifting through the symbiotic relationship of class and religion and how these together help us understand religious affiliation."—Journal of Religion

"Offers an important contribution to the understanding of North American religion that draws our attention to the role of class for an explanation. . . . A novel approach for understanding class and religion without explaining away the religion or the participants' involvement. For these reasons, scholars of Penecostalism ought to read Divine Hierachies with openness to incorporating an element of class in their analysis."—Pneuma

"Compelling. . . . Strongly recommend[ed] . . . for those seeking a better historical understanding of religion and class from both sociological and theological perspectives."—Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion

"Historians will benefit from McCloud's demolition of older lines of scholarship and from his carefully delimited and culturally perceptive theories of class analysis."—Journal of American History

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780807831601
  • Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press
  • Publication date: 10/29/2007
  • Edition description: 1
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 240
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.40 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Sean McCloud is assistant professor of religion and modern culture at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte. He is author of Making the American Religious Fringe: Exotics, Subversives, and Journalists, 1955-1993 (from the University of North Carolina Press).

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Table of Contents


Acknowledgments     ix
Introduction     1
Class Matters: Resurrecting and Redescribing a Neglected Variable     9
From Inherent Tendencies to Social Sources in Religion Scholarship
The Depraved, the Unevolved, and the Degenerate: Explaining Religious Affiliations in the Age of Eugenics     33
The Peyote of the Masses: Cultural Crises and Acculturation between the World Wars     53
Visions of the Disinherited: The Origins of Religion, Deprivation, and the Usual Suspects after World War II     75
Putting Some Class in American Religion
Some Theologies of Class in American Religious History     105
In the Field: Deprivation, Class, and the Usual Suspects at Two Holiness Pentecostal Assemblies     135
Conclusion     167
Notes     171
Bibliography     193
Index     217
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