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This essay uses the life of Robert Bellah to pose questions about the unfolding of ambition in academic settings with explicit, quasi-universalistic ranking. A crucial moment in all careers is the moment when one recognizes that there are many more talented than oneself. This moment is likely to...
Bellah's 'Civil Religion in America' (1967) caught a moment in the American academy. It quickly became a much debated concept and although interest in the concept has periodically waxed and waned, the explication and contention continue fifty years later. It was both a great success and an...
Over the sixty years of his career, Robert Bellah has occupied an enigmatic position in the field of American sociology. Despite his triumphant academic career and his standing as a prominent advocate of sociology in the public sphere, he felt increasingly dissatisfied with the direction of...
What are the most important questions in the sociology of religion? And how would scholars answer them? This article explores what people consider the most important questions in the field. Sociologists tend to study what we can readily answer with data, but the questions that elicit the most...
In Matteo Bortolini’s elegant and thoughtfully-written biographical account of Robert Bellah, we are given the opportunity to study an arc of development in U.S. sociological theory over the course of the 20th Century, in contact with several of sociology’s most influential shapers. This means...
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