Encyclopedia of Religion
and Society

William H. Swatos, Jr. Editor

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(1941) Professor of Sociology and Director of the New Ethnic and Immigrant Congregations Project, University of Illinois at Chicago; Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley. President, Association for the Sociology of Religion, 1997.

Early in his career, Warner made a number of significant contributions in social theory, but he is best known in the study of religion for his more recent works. He received the SSSR Distinguished Book Award in 1989 for his book New Wine in Old Wineskins: Evangelicals and Liberals in a Small-Town Church (University of California Press 1988). The book addresses the struggles between conservative and liberal members of a single congregation, raising the issue of whether one can judge an individual's religious stance by the church that she or he attends. He received the SSSR Distinguished Article Award in 1994 for an article in the American Journal of Sociology (1993) that addresses the rational choice-religious economies perspective, noting both the strengths and the weaknesses of this new approach to the study of religion.

Warner's most recent efforts have focused on the role of the religious congregation in the United States (Warner 1994). In particular, through the New Ethnic and Immigrant Congregations Project, jointly funded by the Pew Trust and Lilly Endowment, he is focusing on the role congregations play in the assimilation process of new immigrants and ethnic groups by providing a bridge between the ethnic subculture and the larger American culture.

André Nauta


R. S. Warner, "Work in Progress Toward a New Paradigm for the Sociological Study of Religion in the United States," American Journal of Sociology 98(1993):1044-1093

R. S. Warner, "The Place of the Congregation in the American Religious Configuration," in American Congregations , Vol. 2, ed. J. P. Wind and J. W. Lewis (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1994): 54-99.

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