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Studying Lived Religion

Contexts and Practices

Nancy Tatom Ammerman

Religion / Comparative Religion

Offers an overarching definition and framework for the study of religion as it manifests itself in everyday life

Look around you as you walk down the street; somewhere, usually hidden in plain sight, there will be traces of religion. Perhaps it is the person who walks past with a Christian tattoo or a Muslim hijab. Perhaps it is the poster announcing a charity auction at the local synagogue. Or perhaps you open your Instagram feed to see what inspiring images and meditations have been posted by spiritual guides to help start the day.

Studying Lived Religion examines religious practices wherever they happen—both within religious spaces and in everyday life. Although the study of lived religion has been around for over two decades, there has not been an agreed-upon definition of what it encompasses, and we have lacked a sociological theory to frame the way it is studied. This book offers a definition that expands lived religion’s geographic scope and a framework of seven dimensions around which we can analyze lived religious practice. Examples from multiple traditions and disciplines show the range of methods available for such studies, offering practical tips for how to begin. The volume opens up how we understand the category of lived religion, erasing the artificial divide between what happens in congregations and other religious institutions and what happens in other settings.

Nancy Tatom Ammerman draws on examples ranging from Singapore to Accra to Chicago to show how deeply religion permeates everyday lives. In revealing the often overlooked ways that religion shapes human experience, she invites us all into new ways of seeing the world around us.

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