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What kind of animals are human beings? And how do our visions of the human shape our theories of social action and institutions? In Moral, Believing Animals, Christian Smith offers innovative, challenging answers to these and other fundamental questions in sociological, cultural, and religious theory. Smith's work is based on the assumption (unfashionable in certain circles) that human beings have an identifiable and peculiar set of capacities and proclivities that distinguishes them significantly from other animals on this planet. Smith argues that all people are at bottom believers, whose lives, actions, and institutions are constituted, motivated, and governed by narrative traditions and moral orders on which they inescapably depend. This approach -
which has profound consequences for how we think about knowledge, culture, social action, institutions, religion, and the task of social sciences - will be of interest to scholars in sociology, social theory, religious and cultural studies, psychology, and anthropology.
Readership: Students of religion, theology, sociology, anthropology and philosophy
Christian Smith, Professor and Associate Chair, Department of Sociology, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill