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Joseph O. Baker

Sociologist

Research Interests: Religion; secularism; ideology; deviance and social control; public views of science; paranormalism; penology and law; social theory

In addition to teaching at ETSU, I work for the Association of Religion Data Archives.  For the thrilling minutiae of my credentialing history and varied efforts at ritual impressiveness, see my curriculum vitae.            






 

 

 

 

 

Listen to a discussion about American Secularism on the NPR program Religion for Life.
Read an interview in Sacred Matters about the the book.

Reviews of American Secularism:

Amid the growing social science literature on the nonreligious, it serves as an excellent introduction to American secularism while adding more careful, multimethod analysis than is found in other works with more dramatic titles about atheists and apostates. It should appeal to a broad audience.
-American Journal of Sociology

American Secularism offers an innovative framework for the study of both nonreligion and religion that will be an indispensable resource for both scholars of nonreligion as well as scholars of culture and religion who want to better understand this new historical moment and its implications.  The book is well-written, full of interesting data and histories, and its argument for the necessity of an accurate understanding of secularisms and secularities in social research is one that should not be ignored.
-Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion

American Secularism is the best attempt so far to synthesize theory, survey data, and related scholarly literature into a comprehensive description of what American secularism looks like now.  Because it also takes on the main challenges of Secular Studies in the process, I suspect that American Secularism will define the agenda of empirical Secular Studies for the near future.
-Sociological Forum

The book features a series of case examples, historical exemplars that allow the authors to balance the data-heavy portions of the book with historical narratives.  Highly recommended.
-Choice Reviews 

 

Publications:  Contact me if you would like full text versions of any articles. 

Public Views of Science
Public Perceptions of Incompatibility between "Science and Religion."   Public Understanding of Science 21(3):340-354

Acceptance of Evolution and Support for Teaching Creationism in Public Schools
Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 52(1):216-228.

Homosexuality, Religion, and Science: Moral Authority and the Persistence of Negative Attitudes.  Sociological Inquiry 82(4):487-509.

Economy "Versus" Environment: The Influence of Economic Ideology and Political Identity on Perceived Threat of Eco-Catastrophe.The Sociological Quarterly 55(2):341-65.

 

American Secularism(s)
The Nones: Social Characteristics of the Religiously Unaffiliated. Social Forces 87(3):1251-1264. 

None Too Simple: Examining Issues of Religious Nonbelief and Nonbelonging in the United StatesJournal for the Scientific Study of Religion 48(4):719-733. 

Perceptions of Science and American Secularism. Sociological Perspectives 55(1):167-188.

 

Atheism, Agnosticism, and IrreligionEmerging Trends in the Social and Behavioral Sciences.

 

Gendering (Non)Religion: Politics, Education, and Gender Gaps in Secularity in the United StatesSocial Forces 94(4):1623-1645.

 

 

Patterns of Religious Practice, Belief, and Experience
An Investigation of the Sociological Patterns of Prayer Frequency and Content.
Sociology of Religion 69(2):165-185. 

What Would Jesus Buy? American Consumption of Religious and Spiritual Material GoodsJournal for the Scientific Study of Religion 46(4):501-518. 

Angelic Belief as American Folk Religion. Sociological Forum 26(3):623-643. 

Who Believes in Religious Evil?  An Investigation of Sociological Patterns of Belief in Satan, Hell, and DemonsReview of Religious Research 50(2):206-220. 

The Variety of Religious Experiences. Review of Religious Research 51(1):39-54.  Erratum

 

Congregational Dynamics
Social Sources of the Spirit: Connecting Rational Choice and Interactive Ritual Theories in the Study of Religion Sociology of Religion 71(4):432-456.

Structural and Cultural Sources of Community in American Congregations. Social Science Research 45:1-17.


Deviance, Social Control, and Law
Desecration, Moral Boundaries, and the Movement of Law: The Case of Westboro Baptist Church.  Deviant Behavior 36(1):42-67.

The Expression of Low Self-Control as Problematic Drinking in Adolescents: An Integrated Control PerspectiveJournal of Criminal Justice 38(3):237-244. 

Theism, Secularim, and Sex Education in the United States.  Sexuality Research and Social Policy 12(3):236-247.

Hell to Pay: Religion and Punitive Ideology among the American PublicPunishment & Society 18(2):151-176.

 

"Paranormal" Beliefs and Subcultures
A Social Anthropology of Ghosts in Twenty-First-Century AmericaSocial Compass 61(4):569-593.

Diverse Supernatural Portfolios: Certitude, Exclusivity, and the Curvilinear Relationship between Religiosity and Paranormal BeliefJournal for the Scientific Study of Religion 49(3):413-424.  Appendix

Countervailing Forces: Religiosity the Paranormal Belief in Italy. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 51(4):705-720.