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Early Dissertations In American Sociology Of Religion

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Chapter Summary

This chapter describes twelve American dissertations in the sociological study of religion that were written before 1930. The earliest is sermonic in nature. The others better resemble the sociology of our day, but they reveal no conceptual development for the sub-discipline. Rather, they reflect typical studies found in general sociology in the universities at the time: a history of local charities sponsored by a denomination, an evaluation of ministries in an inner-city setting, a handbook for conducting community studies, religious demography, histories of a social institution and of a reform impulse, studies of cultural contact and ethnic settlement, a study of a category of organizations, an anthropological reconstruction of a culture, and a development of a pure type. The hegemony of the University of Chicago in the 1920s in the sociological study of religion is evident in as much as seven of the twelve.

Keywords: American dissertations; American sociology; anthropological reconstruction; religious demography; University of Chicago



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