In the Course of a Lifetime: Tracing Religious Belief, Practice, and Change (Book Title)


Program Description:

In the Course of a Lifetime provides an unprecedented portrait of the dynamic role religion plays in the everyday experiences of Americans over the course of their lives. The book draws from a unique sixty-year-long study of close to two hundred mostly Protestant and Catholic men and women who were born in the 1920s and interviewed in adolescence, and again in the 1950s, 1970s, 1980s, and late 1990s. Woven throughout with rich, intimate life stories, the book presents and analyzes a wide range of data from this study on the participants' religious and spiritual journeys. A testament to the vibrancy of religion in the United States, In the Course of a Lifetime provides an illuminating and sometimes surprising perspective on how individual lives have intersected with cultural change throughout the decades of the twentieth century. (University of California Press, 2007)


Michele Dillon

Michele Dillon is a professor of sociology at the University of New Hampshire. Since receiving her Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley in 1989, her research and writing has focused on religion and culture broadly defined to address several pressing questions about the place of religion in contemporary society: the moral politics surrounding abortion and gay rights; the coexistence of commitment and dissent among Catholics; the everyday habits and lifetime journeys of religious and spiritual Americans; and the links between religious/spiritual practices and well-being and altruism. In her writing and teaching, Dr. Dillon emphasizes a pluralistic approach; she uses both qualitative and quantitative research methods and engages with a wide array of classical and contemporary theorists. She is currently President-elect of the Association for the Sociology of Religion, and is past-Chair of the American Sociological Association religion section.

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