|LANE, RALPH, JR.|
(1923-) Emeritus Professor of Sociology, University of San Francisco. Receiving A.B. and M.A. degrees from Columbia University and a Ph.D. in sociology from Fordham University, Lane taught at Manhattan College (1949-1950) and at Fordham University (1948-1955). Between 1955 and 1957, he served as cultural affairs officer at the American Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan. He joined the sociology faculty at the University of San Francisco in 1958, where he remained until his retirement in 1988. President, Association for the Sociology of Religion, 1971.
In the area of sociology of religion, Lane's published materials have been primarily on aspects of Catholicism. His research covered areas of religiosity, Catholics as a status group, Catholic marriage and family life in the United States, Catholic charismatics, and sociology of the parish.
Lane became the first president of the reorganized and renamed Association for the Sociology of Religion. His presidential address critically analyzed the state of research in the sociology of religion, pointing to three elements threatening to become "impediments" to further developments: (1) the focus on social structures of formal religious institutions (parochial focus); (2) replicative studies of survey research, when the survey is not always the best or only appropriate technique for getting at dimensions of religiosity; (3) "accepting definitions of the contemporary religious situation that have the ring of plausibility because they are so skillfully developed but that lack any kind of systematic thoughtfulness" (plausibility fallacy).
Loretta M. Morris
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