Center for Social Research

CSR Fellows Mulder and Smith to present at Yale conference

Constructing a study
of faith and cities

CSR’s faculty Fellows for 2006-2008 are Drs. Mark Mulder of Sociology (on left above) and James K. A. Smith of Philosophy (on right above). The duo will present a report on their work in progress, “Subdivided by Faith,” at the conference on Ecclesiology and Ethnology at Yale University’s Center for Faith and Culture on Saturday morning, September 28.

In Spring 2007, students from Dr. Smith’s Philosophy of the Social Sciences class (PHIL 201/SOC 395) and Dr. Mulder’s Urban Sociology class (SOC 302) interviewed local residents from a wide range of religious traditions and geographies to gain insight into religious believers’ attitudes toward urban areas. The presentation at Yale will draw on the scholars’ early readings of these interview transcripts.

Here is a precis of the research project:

    Subdivided by Faith? Anti-Urban Bias, Geographical Habits, and Theological Influences In their landmark study, Divided by Faith, Michael Emerson and Christian Smith articulated the ways in which evangelical spirituality and practice actually contributed to the racialization and segregation of American culture—the very antithesis of the picture of the redeemed community from every nation, tribe, people and language (Rev. 7:9). Our study seeks to launch a correlate (and supplementary) initiative that considers whether evangelicals tend to exhibit an anti-urban bias that fosters a negative view of urban life, and thus contributes to the growth of suburban and exurban social arrangements. And if this is the case, what are the factors of evangelical theology and spirituality that might lead to this correlation? Exploring a relationship between evangelical spirituality and geographical habits requires both a nuanced understanding of theology (particularly ecclesiology), as well as the rigor of social scientific analysis. Our project seeks to embody a theologically-informed sociology and a sociologically-accountable theology.
Posted by Neil Carlson on Wednesday, September 19, 2007 at 04:07 PM
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Calvin Press Release about our KCCS student team

Our Calvin student team is wrapping up its summer work this week, and Calvin’s Media Relations folks have produced an excellent press release about KCCS, written primarily from the perspective of student team members.

The project is on schedule! As of this writing, CSR student Field Interviewers have completed 245 face-to-face interviews with Kent County religious leaders, as well as doing field research to winnow down an initial list of over 900 possible congregations to a current clean list of just over 760. Our four summer student research assistants have been a big help, too. Another 44 face-to-face interviews have been conducted by clergy liaisons, and 115 telephone interviews are complete, putting total response to date over 50%. Data collection will continue into the fall, with a smaller team of Calvin students cooperating with the clergy liaisons and telephone subcontractor.

Thanks to all our partners, and especially to the congregations themselves, for making KCCS work!

Posted by Neil Carlson on Thursday, August 16, 2007 at 09:27 AM
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Opportunities at the CSR

The previous director of the CSR, Kurt Schaefer, has recently retired from his position in order to work full time as a professor in the Economics Department.  Jan Curry, Dean of Research and Scholarship at Calvin, is temporarily taking over the position of director while the search for a new director is conducted.  See Jan Curry or the CSR staff (both located in Spoelhof) for a job description.

The CSR is also intently searching for a new student programmer.  The graduation of Mark Van Holstyn has opened up a programming position at the CSR.  See Neil Carlson (SC 207) or Nate Medeiros-Ward (SC206) for a job description.

Posted by Kirsten Anderson on Wednesday, August 15, 2007 at 04:31 PM
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Young Alumni Survey - 2007

Reporting on the responses of Alumni at one year, three years, and ten years after Calvin is almost completed. Each academic department will receive their own report based on Alumni and non-grad equivalent responses. In its second year, the number of respondents has increased for this entirely online survey project through the addition of the ten-year-out wave, while the response rate has remained static. Finished reports are due out in September.

Posted by Kirsten Anderson on Thursday, August 09, 2007 at 04:07 PM
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KCCS makes the front page

 CSR’s major summer project, the Kent County Congregations Study, made the front page of the Grand Rapids Press newspaper today. In scope, KCCS is one of the most ambitious local studies of congregations ever undertaken. Because the goal is to learn how to provide better future service provision to the needy, the study aims to reach as much of the complete county population of congregations as possible. The CSR’s team of thirteen student field interviewers has conducted over ninety face-to-face interviews with local clergy since June 21, aiming for more than 250 completed interviews by August 20. Another team of interviewers at RDV Corporation will seek an additional 120 interviews with primarily African-American and Latino congregations, while the Center for Marketing and Opinion Research in Akron, Ohio has been contracted to contact another 250-plus by telephone. Update:  we have a nice PDF of the Press article for online viewing only; contact us or the Press if you are interested in a print copy.
Posted by Neil Carlson on Sunday, July 15, 2007 at 11:24 PM
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