Based on extensive primary research and grounded in a historical and theoretical framework, Religion and Personal Autonomy analyzes the role of religion in contemporary American society. The book makes a significant contribution to the current debate among American—and some non-American—sociologists of religion concerning secularization, the contemporary cultural role of 'mainline' religion for individuals, and the relevance of regional differences in religious identity and change.
In this thought-provoking book, the author suggests that while the churches have heretofore reflected local social relationships and a traditional family morality, recent social revolutions have accelerated major changes in this church-culture relationship—most evident in the increased emphasis on personal autonomy. In effect, Hammond argues, churches have lost the custodianship of American core values.
Phillip E. Hammond received his Ph.D. in sociology from Columbia University. He taught sociology, specializing in the study of religion, at Yale, Wisconsin, and Arizona before joining the faculty of the University of California at Santa Barbara. He is the author or editor of nearly a dozen books.