American Sociology of Religion by Blasi, J., Anthony J. Blasi

By Blasi, J., Anthony J. Blasi

First ever number of histories of yank sociology of faith, together with bills of early dissertations adjustments in thought, and experiences of denominations, globalization, feminism, new religions and Latino/a American faith.

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This is quite usual, but it is intriguing how a study so contrary to the spirit of George Herbert Mead employs his language here and there. The reference to stimulus-and-response but not as cause and effect could well have come from Mead; it would have been intended to refer to interaction, or the conversation of signiÀcant symbols, but in Price’s hands they are simply occasions for descriptive material to be allocated to types, only to be “really” explained by underlying needs. Similarly, this Median theme that was to form the heart of the Philosophy of the Present (Mead 1932) is never utilized to interpret any of the many documents that the author presents: “Now any self-feeling is the product of one’s present as over against one’s previous possessions, activities, beliefs, and sentiments, or as over against those of others” (p.

The theological faculties were usually small and consisted largely of part-time professors. They frequently canceled classes in order to attend church conferences. Academic records in the theology departments were often poorly kept. Requirements for degrees varied greatly, and curricula varied by denomination. Early influences on the students included religious parents and Sunday school teachers. Those students who actually attended classes matured intellectually and began to depart from the fundamentalist heritage of those early inÁuentials.

Weber emphasized, however, that religious motivations do not operate independently of economic interests. It is always an empirical question as to whether economic material interests or religious ideal interests have priority in individuals’ subjective motivations, and the dividing line between the two types of motivation is often fuzzy. Moreover, Weber noted that a fully developed capitalist economic system, with its highly rationalized work ethic, no longer needs explicit religious legitimation; hence religious concerns are vulnerable to being undermined by worldly activity and the economic expansiveness and material prosperity that ensue.

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