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.
text version in PDF format.