Lived Religion

Lived Religion : Faith and Practice in Everyday Life

3.61 (39 ratings by Goodreads)
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What are we to make of the Latina schoolteacher who considers herself a good Catholic, rarely attends Mass, but meditates daily at her home altar (where she mixes images of the Virgin of Guadalupe with those of Frida Kahlo, and traditional votive candles with healing crystals), yet feels particularly spiritual while preparing food for religious celebrations in her neighborhood? Diverse religious practices such as these have long baffled scholars of contemporary religion, whose research started with the assumption that Individuals commit, or refuse to commit, to an entire institutionally-defined package of beliefs and practices. Social surveys typically ask respondents to self-identify by denominational or other broad religious categories. Sociologists attempt to measure religiosity according to how well individuals conform to the official religious standards, such as frequency of church attendance, scripture-reading, or prayer. In this book Meredith McGuire points the way forward toward a new way of understanding and studying religious behavior.
Rather than try to fit people into prearranged packages, she argues, scholars must begin to study religion as it is actually lived and experienced in peoples' everyday lives. Drawing on her own extensive fieldwork, as well as recent work by other scholars, McGuire explores the many ways that people express themselves spiritually and shows that they rarely fit neatly into the categories we've developed. Challenging those who see declining church attendance as the death of religion in the Western world, McGuire demonstrates that religion is as widespread, potent, and vital as ever, if you know where to look.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 304 pages
  • 160.02 x 233.68 x 25.4mm | 544.31g
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • New.
  • 0195172620
  • 9780195172621
  • 1,534,810

Review quote

...A creative blending of a personal and professional narrative and normative zeal to reform the field of sociology and religion... The book succeeds in its goal to infuse tired debates in the sociology of religion with a fresh perspective. It will stimulate many conversations about which lamppost we should look under to find religion in contemporary society, how it got there, and where it is going. * Contemporary Sociology * This is an important book in the sociology of religion, because it prods us to take seriously religious analysis.... * Wyndy Corbin Reushling * McGuire's thoughtful, intellectually engaging, and well-written book is a welcome addition to the analysis of the prevalence of religion and spirituality in everyday practices. * Michele Dillon, University of New Hampshire * Meredith McGuire's Lived Religion richly endows an expanding academic literature highlighting the relevance of religious-spiritual practices that are typically excluded from the received view of what counts as religion and spirituality. ...McGuire's thoughtful, intellectually engaging, and well-written book is a welcome addition to the analysis of the prevalence of religion and spirituality in everyday practices. ...McGuire succeeds in making visible the many hybrid
sources of religious community and commitment that might otherwise remain beyond the gaze of scholarly attention. * American Journal of Sociology * An invaluable resource that broadens understandings of the complicated interactions of personal spirituality and social contexts. ...This important book provides an extraoridnary overview that challenges quantitative researchers to develop new approaches and stimulates qualitative researchers to addres new questions in new ways. * Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion *
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About Meredith B. McGuire

Professor of Sociology and Anthropology, Trinity University
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Table of contents

1. Everyday Religion as Lived ; 2. Contested Meanings and Definitional Boundaries: Historicizing the Sociology of Religion ; 3. Popular Religious Expressions Today: U.S. Latinos and Latinas ; 4. Popular Religions in Practice Today: Southern White Evangelicals ; 5. Spirituality and Materiality: Why Bodies Matter ; 6. Embodied Practices for Healing and Wholeness ; 7. Gendered Spiritualities ; 8. Rethinking Religious Identity, Commitment, and Hybridity
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Rating details

39 ratings
3.61 out of 5 stars
5 10% (4)
4 49% (19)
3 36% (14)
2 3% (1)
1 3% (1)
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