Robert Wuthnow is Gerhard R. Andlinger `52 Professor of Sociology. He has published widely in the sociology of religion, culture, and civil society. His publications include The Restructuring of American Religion: Society and Faith Since World War II; After Heaven: Spirituality in America since the 1950s; Loose Connections: Joining Together in America’s Fragmented Communities; and Communities of Discourse: Ideology and Social Structure in the Reformation, the Enlightenment, and European Socialism. His recent books include Small-Town America: Finding Community, Shaping the Future and Inventing American Religion: Polls, Surveys, and the Tenuous Quest for a Nation’s Faith. He is an elected member of the American Philosophical Society and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences; a recipient of the Warren J. Mitofsky Award for Excellence in Public Opinion Research, the Mirra Komarovsky Book Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and the Martin E. Marty Award for Public Understanding of Religion. His current research focuses on religion and politics, religion and race, social change, rural America, and sociological theory.
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 “othering” involves distinctions based on location, perceptions of mental acuity, ethnicity, religion, and wealth.