Revivalism and Cultural Change: Christianity, Nation Building, and the Market in the Nineteenth-Century United States

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The history of Christianity in America has been marked by recurring periods of religious revivals or awakenings. In this book, George M. Thomas addresses the economic and political context of evangelical revivalism and its historical linkages with economic expansion and Republicanism in the nineteenth century. Thomas argues that large-scale change results in social movements that articulate new organizations and definitions of individual, society, authority, and cosmos. Drawing on religious newspapers, party ...

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Overview

The history of Christianity in America has been marked by recurring periods of religious revivals or awakenings. In this book, George M. Thomas addresses the economic and political context of evangelical revivalism and its historical linkages with economic expansion and Republicanism in the nineteenth century. Thomas argues that large-scale change results in social movements that articulate new organizations and definitions of individual, society, authority, and cosmos. Drawing on religious newspapers, party policies and agendas, and quantitative analyses of voting patterns and census data, he claims that revivalism in this period framed the rules and identities of the expanding market economy and the national policy.

"Subtle and complex. . . . Fascinating."—Randolph Roth, Pennsylvania History

"[Revivalism and Cultural Change] should be read with interest by those interested in religious movements as well as the connections among religion, economics, and politics."—Charles L. Harper, Contemporary Sociology

"Readers old and new stand to gain much from Thomas's sophisticated study of the macrosociology of religion in the United States during the nineteenth century. . . . He has given the sociology of religion its best quantitative study of revivalism since the close of the 1970s."—Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion

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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
Thomas sociology, Arizona State University examines the nature and institutional context of the particular form of revival religion that swept the US during the nineteenth century. He combines elements from the sociology of religion and culture and from collective action theory to construct a new model of cultural change and social movements. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR booknews.com
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780226795850
  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press
  • Publication date: 7/28/1989
  • Edition description: 1
  • Pages: 245
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

George M. Thomas is professor of sociology at Arizona State University.

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Table of Contents

Preface
1. Introduction: Sociocultural Change, Revivalism, and Republicanism Objectives in Studying Revivalism and Change Summary of the Book
2. An Institutional Model of Cultural Change and Social Movements Large-Scale Change and Social Movements Institutional Order: Rules, Ontology, and Knowledge Integration of the Institutional Order: Isomorphism and Environments Formal Organization and Ritual Institutional Dynamics: Rethinking Elective Affinity Environmental Dynamics and Social Movements An Example: Twentieth-Century Protestantism Competition and Formal Organization Further Considerations: Contradictions, Interest, and Power
3. An Institutional Analysis of Market Penetration Market Penetration in Nineteenth-Century United States Market Penetration as Rationalization Rationalization in Historical Perspective Individuation as Concept and Variable Transformation of the Ontology Variations in Individuation/Individualism: Efficacy Causal Analysis of Specific Transformations Market, Polity, and Ontology in Nineteenth-Century United States
4. The Social Meaning of Revivalism and Republicanism Revival Religion Causal Interpretation of Revival Religion The Institutional Thesis and American Religion Literature Republicanism Causal Interpretation of Republicanism The Institutionalism Thesis and Prior Studies Summary
5. Political-Economic Aspects of Revivalism: Quantitative Analyses, 1870-1896
Research Approach and Design Concepts and Measures Splitting the Sample and the Exclusion of Cases The Socioeconomic Context of Revivalism, 1870-1890: Results The Political Consequences of Revivalism, 1880-1896: Results General Inferences and Caveats
6. Toward a General Theory of Religious Movements Empirical Issues and Trends Religion and Nation Building, Some Comparisons Religion and State Formation The Dialectics of Political-Technological Order and Gnosticism New Religious Trends and Movements Concluding Thoughts on the Sociology of Religion Appendix: Technical Aspects of the Quantitative Analyses Notes References Index

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