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The Role of Religion in Public Conflicts over the Arts in the Philadelphia Area, 1965-1997

Working Paper #16, Summer 2000

Paul DiMaggio, Wendy Cadge, Lynn Robinson and Brian Steensland

How would we characterize the relationship between religion and the arts in the Philadelphia area between 1965 and 1997? The late 1980s and early 1990s in Philadelphia followed a decade that was unusually free of contention between religion and the arts. In comparison to the 1970s and early 1980s, religious participation in cultural conflict was not particularly high during the "culture-war" era. However, religious discourse as opposed to participation did play a role in more controversies during the late 1980s and 1990s. The findings also suggest that after 1986 religious actors and their allies were far more likely to employ the tools of social-movement mobilization and to connect their own claims to national social movements or campaigns.

This paper can be found in Crossroads: Art and Religion in American Life, edited by Alberta Arthurs and Glenn Wallach, 2001, New York: The New Press.

Full text version in PDF format.

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