Title

The transformation of the godly family : negotiations between gender essentialist ideals and egalitarian practices among evangelicals

Abstract

Drawing from the extensive research that has been performed recently within the sociology of religion on gender and conservative American Protestants, I examine gender ideology among American evangelicals as well as gendered family practice to determine if traditional gender essentialist perspectives remain plausible among evangelicals and whether they serve as normative scripts for their gender practice in everyday life. Through descriptions of evangelical family experiences, it becomes clear that while many aspects of traditional gender essentialist views were found to remain within the language about family life, evangelicals have shifted toward more egalitarian interpretations and gender practices performed within the family--including parenting and the distribution of household labor--demonstrating that evangelicals are far more egalitarian and more closely resemble their liberal Protestant and non-religious counterparts in family practice than might be expected. Utilizing subcultural identity theories as presented by Christian Smith et al. (1998), and ethnographic studies of conservative Protestant women, I assert that gender essentialist language and traditional gender symbolism persist in evangelical dialogue on the family because they remain central to evangelical identity as a means by which they can maintain group boundaries that separate them from mainstream American culture, thus fulfilling the evangelical precept to remain "in" the world, but not "of" it.

Notes

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Thesis Completion

2010

Semester

Spring

Advisor

Coverston, Harry

Degree

Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)

College

College of Arts and Humanities

Degree Program

Religious Studies

Subjects

Arts and Humanities -- Dissertations, Academic;Dissertations, Academic -- Arts and Humanities

Format

Print

Identifier

DP0022502

Language

English

Access Status

Open Access

Length of Campus-only Access

None

Document Type

Honors in the Major Thesis

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