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At Ease With Our Own Kind: Worship Practices And Class Segregation In American Religion

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Chapter Summary

The relationship between social class and religious behavior is one of the oldest and most well-established areas of inquiry in the field of sociology. This chapter briefly summarize the four major empirical findings concerning class and American religion, narrow the focus of the chapter to just one of these, and review the most prominent theory that has been offered to explain it. After critiquing this explanation the chapter develops an alternative theoretical approach drawn from Pierre Bourdieus work on class and cultural consumption, focusing on his concept of habitus. Dividing the worship service into three dimensions aesthetic, linguistic and physicalthe chapter reviews a selection of ethnographic studies of American religion to see how they support and illuminate this alternative approach.

Keywords: American religion; Pierre Bourdieu



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