Jesse M. Smith

Jesse M. Smith
Western Michigan University | WMU · Department of Sociology

PhD, Sociology

About

26
Publications
13,439
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Introduction
Jesse M. Smith is an interpretive sociologist and social psychologist. His research interests are focused primarily on the relationship of secularity and nonreligion to identity, the self, social deviance, and collective action. He has published research articles, book chapters, and book reviews in journals including Sociology of Religion, Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, and Qualitative Sociology. He is co-author of the book, Secularity and Nonreligion in North America.
Additional affiliations
August 2006 - August 2013
University of Colorado Boulder
Position
  • Research Assistant
August 2006 - June 2013
University of Colorado Boulder
Position
  • Graduate Instructor and Research Assistant

Publications

Publications (26)
Chapter
Full-text available
Bloomsbury Religion in North America
Article
Drawing on fieldwork and in-depth interviews, this study examines the ways affirmatively secular individuals construct moral frameworks, navigate hardship, and create meaningful selves. Based on an inductive, thematic analysis of the data, we show that secular individuals’ identities and interpretations of everyday experience and important life eve...
Article
Full-text available
The view that religion, as a source of moral guidance and social support, can function to prevent or protect individuals, especially children and adolescents, from a range of deviant and delinquent behaviors is largely (but not completely) born out in the literature. In nations with strong religious identities such as the USA, there is a normative...
Article
Full-text available
This study examines the rhetorical practices of conservative Christian leadership in the United States over time through a case study of Mormonism. Using data drawn from their semi-annual General Conference and other church-produced documents from 1903 to the present, I examine how Mormon leaders have responded, through discourse, to secular forces...
Article
Full-text available
In public discourse and much sociological research individuals are considered secular if they do not hold religious beliefs or belong to any religious group. But can the secular itself become an object of both belief and belonging? Can secular people develop self-understanding and existential purpose in communal contexts that engage a religious mod...
Chapter
Full-text available
Atheism is increasing, but as a phenomenon continues to be at the fringe of current research. Atheist groups and ideologies represent a wide range of attitudes, behaviour and ways of acting towards religion. The lack of a clear definition of what being atheist (or an unbeliever) means today invites us to study the issue in greater depth. This volum...
Chapter
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Article
Full-text available
How do families react when a member “comes out” as an atheist? As one of America’s most stigmatized groups, atheists often find members of their own families reacting with anger and rejection, an inability to communicate effectively, and distrust. Many atheists, however, feel continued support and acceptance from family members, experience greater...
Article
Full-text available
The developing social scientific literature on atheism is still working out the social significance, meaning, and processes of atheist identity formation. Scholars are also in the early stages of analyzing and understanding the collective and organizational activities of contemporary self-identified atheists and the relationship of this to theism,...
Article
Full-text available
Based on 45 in-depth interviews, textual analysis, and participant observation with seven different atheist organizations, this article investigates the collective identity work of atheists in the United States. It explores the social psychological and interactional dynamics of atheist organizations as well as how they contribute to the constructio...
Article
Full-text available
The nationally representative 2008 American Religious Identification Survey found that 41% of self-identified atheists reported experiencing discrimination in the last 5 years due to their lack of religious identification. This mixed-method study explored the forms and frequency of discrimination reported by 796 self-identified atheists living in t...
Article
Full-text available
This study examines the interactions between homeless pet owners and the domiciled public with a focus on how the activities of pet ownership help construct positive personal identities. Homeless people are often criticized for having pets. They counter these attacks using open and contained responses to stigmatization. More often, they redefine pe...
Article
Full-text available
This study explores the identity formation process of self-avowed atheists in the context of American culture. Drawing on data collected from participant observation and 40 individual indepth interviews with atheists in Colorado, four stages of atheist identity development are presented: the starting point/the ubiquity of theism, questioning theism...

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