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6 Observations

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Chapter Summary

The type of research conducted in the field changed around 1970 as the availability of computers on university campuses (and later, on researchers' desktops) made large-scale survey research possible. The trajectory of the liberal Protestant church planners whose network produced the Religious Research Association has more the appearance of a deplannification process than a history of secularization. The American Sociological Society was on good terms with the ACSS, Catholics were entering sociology graduate programs at non-Catholic universities, racism was becoming a concern in mainstream sociology. Meanwhile the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion redirected its discussion from the place of religion in the world of science and to the workings of religion in society. Religion occasions the formation of sub-communities and networks of social support, and those are necessarily localized. Sociologists are now engaging in participant observation studies of small religious groups, often yielding rich ethnographic data.

Keywords: American Sociological Society; religion; research; secularization; sociology



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