Domestic devotion and ritual: Visual piety in the modern American home

Journal Article (Journal Article)

In the sound and fury of recent “culture wars,” religion has often been reduced to the “religious right,” an audible, media-savvy, politically active slice of American Protestantism that emerged during the Reagan years. But religious life in the United States is far more diverse and no less interesting than Jerry Falwell or Pat Robertson. Focusing on the religious right not only gives that faction more attention than it deserves, but ignores other, no less religious phenomena. For instance, in contrast to the sensationalism of such contested issues as school prayer, reproductive rights, or sexual orientation, there looms the quiet of the American home, that domestic sanctum where children are reared, guests are entertained, and rites of passage are celebrated in the prosaic terms of greeting cards. In this domain of the cardboard icon, American Protestants and Catholics have sought to construct a secure domestic space that will ensure the transmission of the values that have shaped their identities. © 1998, College Art Association, Inc.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Morgan, D

Published Date

  • January 1, 1998

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 57 / 1

Start / End Page

  • 45 - 54

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0004-3249

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1080/00043249.1998.10791868

Citation Source

  • Scopus