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Regional Patterns of African American Church Attendance: Revisiting the Semi-Involuntary Thesis

Larry L. Hunt and Matthew O. Hunt
Social Forces
Vol. 78, No. 2 (Dec., 1999), pp. 779-791
Published by: Oxford University Press
DOI: 10.2307/3005575
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3005575
Page Count: 13
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Regional Patterns of African American Church Attendance: Revisiting the Semi-Involuntary Thesis
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Abstract

In this study we examine the thesis that the black church represents a semi-involuntary institution with patterns of attendance shaped by dynamics of segregation in the rural South. We replicate the analyses of Ellison and Sherkat (1995)-who found distinctive church participation patterns in the rural South - through an examination of church attendance in two nationally representative data sets (the General Social Surveys for 1972-94 and the 1984 National Alcohol Survey). We explore levels of African American church attendance and how selected covariates of attendance differ by region. We find no evidence of distinctive overall attendance levels in the rural South, but we do find some modest support for key implications of the semi-involuntary thesis.

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