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Books, Reports and Articles - 1996

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"Culture and Emotion in Christmas: The Elementary Forms of the Spiritual Life."

Paul G. Schervish, Raymond Halnon, and Karen Bettez-Halnon. The International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy 16, no. 9/10 (1996): 144-170.
In the first section of the paper, the authors examine a passage from the book of Deuteronomy about spiritual life and explore what sociological inquiry needs to add to its analytic arsenal in order to adequately interpret profound meaning. In the second section of the paper, the authors analyze several passages drawn from among the sixty interviews conducted in conjunction with the Boston College study, "The Contradictions of Christmas: Troubles and Traditions in Culture, Home, and Heart." In the third section, they chart the rudiments of a social-psychological theory of spirituality, emphasizing the elementary spiritual contradiction between nurturing mysterium and debilitating onus.

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"The Sense and Sensibility of Religion: Retrieving Spiritual Experience as an Authentic Sociological Variable."

Paul G. Schervish. Presented at a joint session of the American Sociological Association and the Association for the Study of Religion, session on "New Theoretical Directions in the Sociology of Religion", New York, NY, Aug. 15-20, 1996.
In this paper, I seek to transcend the Enlightenment treatment of religion. My goal is to return spiritual experience to its rightful place as an authentic cause and consequence in the unfolding of what Anthony Giddens calls the duality of structure. Drawing on 60 intensive interviews with a broad range of people in the Boston Metropolitan area about their Christmas experiences, I tender a dialectical retrieval of spiritual experience as an authentic sociological variable.

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