How do cultural, racial, socioeconomic, religious, and political divisions shape cohesion, inclusion, exclusion, and inequality?
I have studied the impact of social divisions based on religious identities, racial segregation, political ideology, immigration, rural/urban differences, and social movements to examine when these divisions become salient, how they are dramatized in symbol and ritual, and what the factors are that perpetuate them or cause them to change. I favor mixed-methods approaches drawing on archival materials, in-depth qualitative interviews, field observations, surveys, and analysis of existing data from censuses and voting records. My current research examines cases in which “otherizing” involves distinctions based on location, perceptions of mental acuity, ethnicity, religion, and wealth.
Meaning and Moral Order: Explorations in Cultural Analysis. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.
Communities of Discourse: Ideology and Social Structure in the Reformation, Enlightenment, and European Socialism. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
American Mythos: Why Our Best Efforts to Be a Better Nation Fall Short. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
America and the Challenges of Religious Diversity. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
Small-Town America: Finding Community, Shaping the Future. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
Rough Country: How Texas Became America’s Most Powerful Bible-Belt State. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
Inventing American Religion: Polls, Surveys, and the Tenuous Quest for a Nation’s Faith. New York: Oxford University Press.