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Religion as Social Capital
Producing the Common Good

Edited by Corwin E. Smidt

Religion as Social Capital
Paperback, 273 pages $34.95
Published: 1st April 2003
ISBN: 9780918954855

Subjects: All Political Science, All Religious Studies, Religion & Politics

While Robert Putnam's Bowling Alone (2000) highlighted the notion of volunteerism, little attention has been paid to religion's role in generating social capital—an ironic omission since religion constitutes the most common form of voluntary association in America today. Featuring essays by prominent social scientists, this is the first book-length systematic examination of the relationship between religion and social capital and what effects religious social capital has on democratic life in the United States.

Preface and Acknowledgements

1. Introduction
Corwin Smidt

2. Bowling Alone But Serving Together:
The Congregational Norm of Community Involvement
Ram A. Cnaan, Stephanie C. Boddie, and Gaynor I. Yancey

3. Religious Social Capital:
Its Nature, Social Location, and Limits
John A. Coleman, S. J.

4. Faith and Leadership in the Inner City:
How Social Capital Contributes to Democratic Renewal
Mark A. Warren

5. Does Religion Matter?:
Projecting Democratic Power into the Public Arena
Richard L. Wood

6. Religion and Volunteering in America
David E. Campbell and Steven J. Yonish

7. The Religious Basis of Charitable Giving in America:
A Social Capital Perspective
Roger J. Nemeth and Donald A. Luidens

8. Ties That Bind and Flourish:
Religion and Social Capital in African-American Politics and Society
Frederick Harris

9. Social Capital and Societal Vision:
A Study of Six Farm Communities in Iowa
Janel Curry

10. Religious Involvement, Social Capital, and Political Engagement:
A Comparison of the United States and Canada
Corwin Smidt, John Green, James Guth, and Lyman Kellstedt

11. The Language of God in the City of Man:
Religious Discourse and Public Politics in America
Rhys H. Williams

12. Can Religion Revitalize Civil Society?
An Institutional Perspective
Robert Wuthnow

13. Religion, Social Capital, and Democratic Life:
Concluding Thoughts
Corwin Smidt

About the Contributors

"This is a rich collection that will reward the reader with a multitude of leads for unraveling the complex story of the place of religion in American civic life."

--Michael W. Foley, The Catholic University of America

"This volume is a valuable contribution to ongoing discussion about religion's place in civil society and its role in fostering social capital. These authors take religion seriously without romanticizing its potential or obscuring its limits. They challenge all of us concerned with the health of American democracy to do the same."

--Mark Chaves, University of Arizona

"The concept of social capital is under wide discussion in the contemporary sociology social sciences. It is formed by a vital civil society, and evoked and protected in democratic polities with a strong sense of a limited state. Most treatments of it recognize that religious communities play some role, but too few systematic studies have assessed the impact of religion and faith-based organizations in generating, sustaining, and shaping it. This fine collection of essays will be of interest not only to social scientists and political theorists, but it should also be of concern to all involved in the debates over faith-based social-service programs and to clergy of every stripe. The implications of what they do may be deeper and wider than they know."

--Max L. Stackhouse, Kuyper Center for Public Theology, Princeton Theological Seminary

CORWIN E. SMIDT is a professor of political science and director of the Paul B. Henry Institute for the Study of Christianity and Politics at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He is the coauthor and editor of numerous books including The Bully Pulpit: The Politics of Protestant Clergy, Religion and The Culture Wars: Dispatches from the Field, and the forthcoming The New Religious Order in American Politics.

Publication Details:

 Paperback , 273 pages

  SOC026000, SOC039000
 Baylor University Press

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