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Claiming Society for God: Religious Movements and Social Welfare Paperback – May 30, 2012

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Editorial Reviews


". . .a brilliant piece of work--a beautiful example of sociology at its very best. . . . professionally researched and analyzed, both pragmatic and theoretical, overwhelmingly convincing, and an important corrective to a lot of current beliefs. . . .a great read--fascinating from beginning to end." -Wendell Bell, Yale University

"[N]o other recent book on orthodox movements is as broad in its scope, rich and detailed in its narrative, well-grounded in its theory, and insightful in its analysis as Claiming Society for God. Sociologists should read this book as an antidote to the stereotyped, one-dimensional view of religiously orthodox movements so often found in today's popular media." --Review of Religious Research

". . .advances our understanding of the ideological complexity of these movements, the role of multifaceted organizational structure for bringing new activists into a movement, and the ways in which movements might overcome liabilities of ideological rigidity, multi-issue agendas, and distaste for compromise. . . It stands out as a model of comparative historical research in the breadth of its research on such disparate cases, as well as the tight integration of its data and analysis."
--Social Forces

"Social movement scholars ignore the insights of Claiming Society for God at their peril. . . . Davis and Robinson have written a thought-provoking book, one that is well researched and which should inspire debates among scholars of religion, social movements, politics, and social change. Given that the book is highly accessible and relevant to current events, it deserves wide readership outside the academy as well."--Moblization

“. . . contributes to both political sociology and the sociology of religion in multiple ways. It challenges some of the main tenets of the social movement scholarship. It is a must-read for any scholar in any of these three subfields. Sociology as whole would benefit from further discussion of religion’s potential to build alternative sources of power, domination, and struggle; and of the ambiguities, slipperiness, and multilayered nature of orthodoxy’s caring, sharing, “communitarian” face.—Social Forces

About the Author

Nancy J. Davis is Lester Martin Jones Professor of Sociology at DePauw University.
Robert V. Robinson is the Class of 1964 Chancellor's Professor of Sociology at Indiana University, Bloomington.
Together they have published on religion and politics in the American Sociological Review, the American Journal of Sociology, and Sociology of Religion, winning recognition from the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion and the American Sociological Association's sections on the sociology of religion and collective behavior & social movements.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 234 pages
  • Publisher: Indiana University Press (May 30, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0253002389
  • ISBN-13: 978-0253002389
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,416,471 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Brian Starks on July 11, 2012
Format: Hardcover
It is a great book! In this thought-provoking work of sociology, Davis and Robinson explore the implications of "communitarian" tendencies among the religiously orthodox. Their previous research has shown that the communitarian outlook of the religiously orthodox has both a strict and a caring side. Here, they explore religiously orthodox ("fundamentalist") movements and claim that the strategy of the most prominent and successful ones involves institution building rather than terrorism. Their argument contrasts with popular narratives suggesting such movements are centered on violence. Exploring four movements involving different faith traditions and founded in different countries, they chart important underlying sociological similarities in the approaches taken by these movements. This book, as all great sociological works do, helps us to take a fresh look at our world and see patterns and structures that we previously missed. Plus, the four movements that they study are fascinating in their own right and the book provides a wonderfully written historical overview of each of them.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Liberati E. on September 28, 2012
Format: Paperback
In the early days of September of this year (2012) I received a discrete and very kind e-mail from one of the Authors with which I was informed of the availability of this book on the newborn website "Amazon.IT" (of course, the italian website of the "Amazon" galaxy) . I didn't know the Author of the text, and even his co-Author.

Reading the official "Book Description" made on May 30, 2012, I came to know that one of the four religious movements analyzed in the book was CL ("Comunione e Liberazione" or, in English,"Communion and Liberation"), a VERY influential organization in Italy. So I decided to buy it. Without much enthusiasm, though: in fact, I kept saying to myself: "yes .... but you will not find the time to read it ... and it end up on the shelf still immaculate, like many of the other books....".

Unfortunately, unlike what was stated by the Author, the book wasn't "immediately available" on the Italian's Amazon website. So I bought the book on another website of the Jeff Bezos's group and... YES... after the reading of the book, as Clinical Sociologist, let me say just some simply words about this book: the most interesting and well done work on the sociology of religious orthodox movements, the broader, more multi-cultural, more multi-religious, and accurate comparative analysis on the topic that I have ever read.

My most sincere congratulations and my thanks for the great effort of the Authors and for giving us this -needed- masterpiece of sociology!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Howard on October 19, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am not a sociologist, so this is not the sort of book that I would typically read. I was anxious to read this work of sociology, however, after having recently met the kind authors. I was confident that, like the authors, the book would be intelligent and thought-provoking, and I was not disappointed. I must admit that, before reading the book, I was almost entirely ignorant of the four religious movements discussed in the book and of the extensive social welfare institutions that they have succeeded in establishing throughout the world. I now have a greater understanding of the intricate strategies employed by these movements, and the significant impact that they have had on their societies. I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in these movements, even those who are not involved in the field of sociology. It was a pleasure to read.
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