Category: Sociological Resources

New $1.5 million grant to fund national research on faith and work

Rice just announced this grant in late April: The comprehensive study will focus on U.S. workers and will comprise a broad-based national, random-sample survey of approximately 12,000 people from multiple religious traditions and no religious tradition. Research will explore faith at work as well as religious discrimination. It will include focus groups with both professional and working-class participants and as…

Book Review: Liturgy Of the Ordinary

One of my oft-expressed critiques of the faith & work movement is that it is largely a privileged conversation. This does not mean that I do not resonate with or appreciate this movement. I am very passionate about the integration of faith into every part of my life and encourage other people of faith toward the same. I do, however,…

Missionaries in a Mercenary World: Negotiating faith-work boundaries in the workplace

In my previous posts in this series I talked about the character of the Mercenary, which reflects the new norm of apprehensive individualism in global corporate culture. In the next few posts I want to examine how Christians working in global corporations integrate (and segment) their faith in such environments. Subsequently I will return to consider the factors that generate…

Missionaries in a Mercenary World: Apprehensive Individualism

In my last post, I talked about how many professionals, even Christian ones, define themselves in relation to the symbolic image of the Mercenary—a person who is oriented towards “apprehensive individualism.” What does that mean? Individualism isn’t simply self-centeredness; as many scholars such as Robert Bellah and Charles Taylor have pointed out, it can also be a moral vision. But…

Missionaries in a Mercenary World: The Professional as Mercenary

While studying global corporate workplaces in India and the Middle East, I came across a peculiar set of ideals, norms, and expectations that were widely shared across companies. Together, these constitute a distinct “representative character” that (thanks to Ashwin, the IT professional I mentioned in my previous post) I call the Mercenary. What’s a representative character? It’s a recognizable symbolic…

Missionaries in a Mercenary World

“In corporate industries, we’re all mercenaries,” laughed Ashwin Mathews. “We work for the money. Honest—honest truth! I don’t work for loyalty, right? I’m not loyal to the company. I work for the cash!” I interviewed Ashwin (not his real name) in India in 2012 when I was conducting research for my PhD dissertation in sociology. By that point, I had already…