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Clio Goes To Church—Again: Places For History In The Sociology Of Religion

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Chapter Summary

As a historically inclined sociologist, the author argues for the importance to research in the study of religion of a sustained renewal for historical thinking. This chapter includes much of that address but also seeks to extend it in a slightly different direction from the original. The deep roots of the modern sociology of religion in historical inquiry are not usually acknowledged in the way that the former field is conceived and transmitted today. No sooner was the cornerstone of history thus set for the sociology of religion in the twentieth century than the latter tilted away from a theory that was sensitive to time and contingency. Opinion polling in the immediate postwar period additionally helped to predict a number of mundane and wholly non-political behaviors, such as the grocery choices of homemakers.

Keywords: religion; sociology; twentieth century



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