Religion and Inequality in America


It was a nice surprise to find copies of our book, Religion and Inequality in America: Research and Theory on Religion’s Role in Stratification, in the mail today. It wasn’t exactly clear when it was coming out, and a friend of mine who pre-ordered said she got hers last week….Lisa Keister did a wonderful job in riding herd and convincing people to contribute, and in the end I think we have a really nice set of original works that cover the gist of the field. It’s embarrassing to still be seeing manuscripts that are submitted for publication which are completely clueless about the large and growing literature showing the distinctive impact of religion on stratification. Key among the findings of the most important essays in the volume is that life course processes and orientations towards education and women’s roles are key for either enabling upward mobility or anchoring disprivilege. In the US, this mostly means that secular people, liberal Protestants, Catholics (especially European ones….) and non-Christians (including not only Jews, but also Hindus, Buddhists, and Muslims) outdistance sectarian Protestants. It isn’t even close, and it doesn’t matter what indicator of stratification you look at (education, occupation, income, or wealth). Nice contributions by key researchers in the field including Jen’an Read, Chris Ellison, Michael Hout, Evelyn Lehrer, Fred Solt, Jim Davidson, Ralph Pyle, Rebekah Massengill, Jennifer Glass, Scott Fitzgerald, John Bartkowski, Scot Schieman, Margarita Mooney, Michael Lindsay, and many other collaborators. I was glad to do a chapter with my former student Nadia Amin looking at religion, gender, and educational attainment among US immigrants–the main takeaway being that the Hindus are the new Jews—unless patriarchy tanks them.


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