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Secular Revolution Power, Interests, and Conflict in the Secularization of American Public Life

ISBN-10: 0520235614
ISBN-13: 9780520235618
Edition: 2003
Authors: Christian Smith
List price: $36.95
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Description: Sociologists, historians, and other social observers have long considered the secularization of American public life over the past hundred and thirty years to be an inevitable and natural outcome of modernization. This groundbreaking work rejects  More...

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Book details

List price: $36.95
Copyright year: 2003
Publisher: University of California Press
Publication date: 6/4/2003
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 500
Size: 6.00" wide x 8.75" long x 1.50" tall
Weight: 1.496
Language: English

Sociologists, historians, and other social observers have long considered the secularization of American public life over the past hundred and thirty years to be an inevitable and natural outcome of modernization. This groundbreaking work rejects this view and fundamentally rethinks the historical and theoretical causes of the secularization of American public life between 1870 and 1930. Christian Smith and his team of contributors boldly argue that the declining authority of religion was not the by-product of modernization, but rather the intentional achievement of cultural and intellectual elites, including scientists, academics, and literary intellectuals, seeking to gain control of social institutions and increase their own cultural authority. Writing with vigor and a broad intellectual grasp, the contributors examine power struggles and ideological shifts in various social sectors where the public authority of religion has diminished, in particular education, science, law, and journalism. Together the essays depict a cultural and institutional revolution that is best understood in terms of individual agency, conflicts of interest, resource mobilization, and struggles for authority. Engaging both sociological and historical literature,The Secular Revolutionoffers a new theoretical framework and original empirical research that will inform our understanding of American society from the nineteenth to the twenty-first centuries. The ramifications of its provocative and cogent thesis will be felt throughout sociology, religious studies, and our general thinking about society for years to come.

Preface
Introduction: Rethinking the Secularization of American Public Life
Secularizing American Higher Education: The Case of Early American Sociology
Educational Elites and the Movement to Secularize Public Education: The Case of the National Education Association
The Positivist Attack on Baconian Science and Religious Knowledge in the 1870s
Power, Ridicule, and the Destruction of Religious Moral Reform Politics in the 1920s
"My Own Salvation": The Christian Century and Psychology's Secularizing of American Protestantism
From Christian Civilization to Individual Civil Liberties: Framing Religion in the Legal Field, 1880-1949
Reforming Education, Transforming Religion, 1876-1931
Promoting a Secular Standard: Secularization and Modern Journalism, 1870-1930
After the Fall: Attempts to Establish an Explicitly Theological Voice in Debates over Science and Medicine after 1960
Contributors
Index

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