Nancy T. Ammerman, Sacred Stories, Spiritual Tribes: Finding Religion in Everyday Life

in Faculty Publications
February 24th, 2014

9780199370566_p0_v1_s260x420Religion, Nancy Tatom Ammerman argues, is never confined to a house of worship. In Sacred Stories, Spiritual Tribes, Ammerman examines the stories Americans tell of their everyday lives—from dinner table to office and shopping mall to doctor’s office, from the things that matter most to the routines they take for granted—listening for the times and places where the ordinary meets the spiritual.

In addition to conducting interviews and observing her subjects, Ammerman asked them to keep oral diaries and take pictures of places that are meaningful to them, offering a window into the presence and absence of religion and spirituality in ordinary lives and in commonplace physical and social spaces The stories come from a diverse array of ninety-five Americans—both conservative and liberal Protestants, African American Protestants, Catholics, Jews, Mormons, Wiccans, and people who claim no religious or spiritual proclivities—across a range that stretches from committed religious believers to the spiritually neutral. Ammerman surveys how these people talk about what spirituality is, how they seek and find experiences they deem spiritual, and whether and how religious traditions and institutions are part of their spiritual lives.