A Handbook of the Sociology of Religion

By Michele Dillon | Go to book overview

CHAPTER NINETEEN
Beyond the Synagogue Walls
Lynn Davidman

For most of the twentieth century, the study of religion in the United States has focused on institutionally and denominationally based religious groups, behaviors, and beliefs. By keeping institutional religion at the center of our research, students of religion have limited the understanding of the various meanings that individuals may attribute to their religious practices. An institutional focus marginalizes the diverse and syncretic nature of individual religious behavior. Recently, sociologists and anthropologists of religion have begun to recognize that religious practices and expression are not limited to the sanctioned forms and loci provided by the major traditions and denominations. Nor are they fully encompassed by the studies of “new religious movements” that dominated the sociological study of religion in the 1970s and 1980s. Recent volumes edited by Robert Orsi (1999) and David Hall (1997), for example, direct attention away from institutional religion to the study of “lived” religion, and religion outside of institutions, that is, the various and complex ways that people act to create meaning and new practices within the fabric of their everyday lives. By adapting a radically empiricist methodology, the study of lived religion focuses on those subtle ways that people “in particular places and times, live in, with, through and against the religious idioms available to them in culture – all the idioms, including (often enough) those not explicitly 'their own'” (Hall 1997: 7).

The practice of religion is not fixed, frozen, and limited, but can be spontaneous, innovative, and assembled by cultural bricolage (Orsi 1997). To put this otherwise, prescriptive texts don't tell the whole story, or even a very accurate story. Learning about the many imaginative ways individuals create the sacred and construct meaning in their everyday lives requires us to expand our understanding of what religion is and what it means to be “religious.” The concept of lived religion is not necessarily only about practices per se but also about how people understand and live out their identities as members of a religious/ethnic community on an everyday basis. As David

I gratefully acknowledge the financial support this research received from the Lucius Littauer Foundation, the Salomon Research Grants at Brown University, and the Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture. The chapter has benefitted considerably from careful readings by Shelly Tenenbaum, Larry Greil, and the religion and culture workshop at Princeton University in the Fall of 2001. I gratefully acknowledge the superb work of my research assistants, Elaine Farber and Judith Rosenbaum.

-261-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
A Handbook of the Sociology of Religion
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
/ 481

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.