Synopses & Reviews
Nancy Tatom Ammerman examines the stories Americans tell of their everyday lives, from dinner table to office and shopping mall to doctor's office, about the things that matter most to them and the routines they take for granted, and the times and places where the everyday and ordinary meet the spiritual.
In addition to interviews and observation, Ammerman bases her findings on a photo elicitation exercise and oral diaries, offering a window into the presence and absence of religion and spirituality in ordinary lives and in ordinary physical and social spaces. The stories come from a diverse array of ninety-five Americans -- both conservative and liberal white Protestants, African American Protestants, Catholics, Jews, Mormons, Wiccans, and people who claim no religious or spiritual proclivities -- across a range that stretches from committed religious believers to the spiritually neutral. Ammerman surveys how these people talk about what spirituality is, how they seek and find experiences they deem spiritual, and whether and how religious traditions and institutions are part of their spiritual lives.
"This comprehensive, thought-provoking work adds immeasurably to scholarship in sociology of religion and will help set agendas in sociology of religion for years to come."
--Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion
"By setting aside the typical categories academic researchers use when studying contemporary religion, Ammerman and her team document the complex ways religion shows up in a wide range of domains: in communities and conversations, in homes, at work and in public life, and not surprisingly around matters of health, illness and death."--Religion Dispatches
"Nancy Ammerman's Sacred Stories, Spiritual Tribes offers the most in-depth, yet wide-ranging mapping of religious/spiritual/secular sensibilities in the everyday lives of contemporary Americans yet to emerge. She weaves a tapestry that shatters many of our taken-for-granted assumptions about people's circumscribed life-worlds. The book deserves a serious reading on the part of anyone who would try to describe this emerging, but exceedingly complex mix of the sacred and the secular."
--Wade Clark Roof, J.F. Rowny Professor of Religion and Society, University of California at Santa Barbara
About the Author
is Professor of Sociology of Religion at Boston University, where she teaches in the College of Arts and Sciences and the School of Theology. She has written award-winning books on America's conservative religious movements and on the role of religious organizations in community life.
Table of Contents
Preface and Acknowledgments
List of Tables
List of Illustrations and Captions
Chapter 1. In Search of Religion in Everyday Life
Chapter 2. "Spirituality" and "Religion": What Are We Talking About?
Chapter 3. Spiritual Practices in Everyday Life
Chapter 4. Religious Communities and Spiritual Conversations
Chapter 5. Everyday Life at Home
Chapter 6. Nine to Five: Spiritual Presence at Work
Chapter 7. Everyday Public Life: Circles of Spiritual Presence and Absence
Chapter 8. Bodies and Spirits: Health, Illness and Mortality
Chapter 9. Spiritual Tribes: Toward a Sociology of Religion in Everyday Life
Appendix 1. Participants and Their Religious Communities
Appendix 2. Coding and Analyzing Stories
Appendix 3. Research Protocols