Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




This dissertation is a comparison of three religious congregations and one secular congregation on the moral boundaries they use to understand themselves and others. Through a newly developed graphical instrument, in-depth interviews, and surveys, this dissertation shows that contemporary theories on how people use religiously oriented beliefs to separate themselves from others insufficiently capture the ideas, groups, and categories that are salient to people in making these distinctions. Ultimately, it argues that sociologists need to take into account the saliency and moralization of arguments and ideologies for individuals rather than assuming these things a priori or from fringe members of groups.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

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Sociology Commons