sociology of culture and sociology of religion

sociology of culture and sociology of religion -...

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Introduction - sociology of culture and sociology of religion Sociology of Religion , Spring, 1996 by Rhys H. Williams It is common for the introductions to edited collections to begin with a general lament over the relative neglect of their chosen topic, but note an increasing attention - perhaps "resurgence" in recent years - and then, based in part on the collected material at hand, trumpet a bright future. Several important collections in the sociology of culture follow this general path (see Crane 1994; Lamont and Fournier 1992; Mukerji and Schudson 1991). I do not want to be an exception to this editor's prerogative, however, such a claim would not be completely honest. For several years now the sociology of culture has been expanding (reflected in the books cited above). The sociology of religion is also doing well, supporting three specialty journals, appearing regularly in general-interest sociology journals, producing important and controversial books, and now sponsoring a section in the American Sociological Association. What has been missing from this dual resurgence has been systematic boundary-spanning, or to shift metaphors, cross-fertilization. Too often sociologists of culture ignore religion in their focus; too often sociologists of religion pursue research with specialized conceptual lenses that ignore developments in the sociology of culture. Some of this mutual boundary-maintenance is historical (Crane 1994:1) and some institutional (Mukerji and Schudson 1991:58). Whatever the case, this special issue argues that it should end. There are exciting developments in the sociology of culture about which sociologists of religion should be aware. Similarly, there are conceptual developments in the sociology of religion - and empirical examples of "religion as culture" (see Williams and Kniss 1994) - that sociologists of culture should consider more centrally. The essays included here were developed out of a conscious effort to foster ties between the sociologies of culture and religion. The ASA's Sociology of Culture section has a "Culture and Religion Network" devoted to this task. The Burns, Hart, and Swartz essays were first delivered at a session sponsored jointly by the Association for the Sociology of Religion and the ASA's Culture Section at the Miami Beach meetings in 1993. The Dillon, Kearns, and Kniss essays were part of a panel on religion and culture at the 1994 Society for the Scientific Study of Religion-Religious Research Association meetings in Albuquerque. I want to thank Paul DiMaggio and Steve Hart for helping get those two sessions off the ground, and Joe Tamney for help in turning the papers into this special issue. I extend a special note of appreciation to the authors. Concerns with issue length left many an insight on the cutting room floor; further, they suffered the added burden imposed by the additional round of editing from the guest editor. An Analytic Framework for Culture
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sociology of culture and sociology of religion -...

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