Encyclopedia of Religion
and Society

William H. Swatos, Jr. Editor

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(1931-) D. Mackenzie Brown Professor of Religious Studies and Sociology, University of California at Santa Barbara.

Hammond was a student of Paul Lazarsfeld in the Bureau of Applied Social Research at Columbia University in the late 1950s, completing his Ph.D. in 1960. He taught sociology at Yale, Wisconsin, and Arizona before joining the Department of Religious Studies at UCSB in 1979. During his Santa Barbara tenure, Hammond cultivated one of the premier graduate programs for the social scientific study of religion. Hammond's distinguished teaching and research career includes visiting appointments at Berkeley, Stanford, the London School of Economics, and the University of Copenhagen. Beyond his scholarly contributions to the sociology of religion, Hammond has been a devoted member of the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion. He edited the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion (1978-1982) and was elected President of SSSR in 1985. He also served as President of the Western Region of the American Academy of Religion (1986-1987).

Hammond established himself in the discipline of sociology with the publication of the edited volume Sociologists at Work (Basic Books 1964), a benchmark study of how social research is done. He also published an introductory sociology textbook; but, the son of three generations of Methodist clergymen, Hammond is foremost a sociologist of religion. Distinguishing his scholarly career is an intellectual preoccupation with the changing role of religion in the modern world and the strengths and limitations of the nineteenth-century theories that tried to explain it as a sociological and historical phenomenon. That concern was explored explicitly in the publication of two widely used essay collections, Beyond the Classics? Essays in the Scientific Study of Religion (with Charles Y. Glock, Harper 1973) and The Sacred in a Secular Age: Toward Revision in the Scientific Study of Religion (University of California Press 1985). Hammond has written extensively on a wide range of topics in the social scientific study of religion—from prayer in public schools and the New Christian Right to religious identity and the rise of new religious movements—but is perhaps best known for his long-standing work on civil religion in America, exemplified by the volume Varieties of Civil Religion (with Robert Bellah, Harper 1980).

The monograph Religion and Personal Autonomy: The Third Disestablishment in America (University of South Carolina Press 1992) is a comparative study of regional religious subcultures in America. In it Hammond shows how social changes in the 1960s accelerated fundamental change in the religion-culture relationship in the United States. Moral authority is shifting, Hammond argues, from churches to autonomous individuals. Therefore, while church membership and attendance remain relatively high in the United States, the social meaning of religious participation has changed. Thus the book makes a major contribution to the secularization debate and is perhaps the crowning achievement of Hammond's prolific career.

Mark A. Shibley

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