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1 Doctoral Dissertations in the Sociology of Religion, 1895–1959

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Chapter Summary

This chapter focuses on people who conducted classes about sociology in institutions of higher education ("professors of sociology") and the dissertations they wrote. Books in sociology had been published since the 1830s in Europe, but what counts as a book varies greatly. The category includes collections of articles, doctoral dissertations published as books, monographs, government reports, and pamphlets. The chapter addresses what theoretical positions and traditions informed the early dissertations in the sociology of religion. The chapter also addresses who were considered important enough sociologists for their conceptual frameworks and theoretical arguments to be cited in these works. The single dissertation in the sociology of religion from the 1890s cited the social evolutionists William Graham Sumner and the Englishman Herbert Spencer. The 1950s saw the introduction of comparisons of means with significance tests, content analysis, and factor analysis in the dissertations.

Keywords: American sociology of religion; doctoral dissertations; Englishman Herbert Spencer; William Graham Sumner



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