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The Sociological Study Of American Catholicism: Past, Present And Future

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Chapter Summary

This chapter focuses research that has been conducted by social scientists, primarily sociologists of religion, who employ social science research methods to investigate issues central to the religious life of the Catholic Church in the United States. It also focuses the sociological investigation of the communal religious life of the Catholic Church in the United States, the social forces that have influenced that communal religious life, and the trends in the religious beliefs, values, practices, and identities of American Catholics. The chapter then discusses the earliest pioneers in this field, the obstacles they faced in gaining legitimacy for the sociological study of American Catholicism, and how their research during the 1930s, '40s and '50s helped lay the foundation for the revival of the sociology of religion within the discipline of sociology during the 1960s.

Keywords: American catholicism; Catholic Church; communal religious life; social scientists



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