My first book, with Oxford University Press, New Monasticism and the Transformation of American Evangelicalism, analyzes political and religious transformations in the field of American evangelicalism through a Bourdieusian lens. By systematically examining how distinctive conservative and progressive movements within American evangelicalism are influenced by and constructed in relation to one another, this book develops an original theoretical framework for understanding internal contestation, stability, and change within the American evangelical field. New Monasticism and the Transformation of American Evangelicalism also contributes to sociological theories of culture by developing an original practical social hermeneutic model of evangelical meaning construction to explain how different movements within American evangelicalism construct their distinctive religious and political standpoints and strategies of action, and how evangelical religious and political standpoints are transformed. Drawing on original ethnographic fieldwork conducted from 2006-2011, New Monasticism and the Transformation of American Evangelicalism is the first sociological monograph focused on new monastic evangelicalism and the first major work to theorize the growing theological and political diversity within twenty-first century American evangelicalism.
I continue to explore the paradoxical world of progressive evangelicalism in my dissertation, a national multi-site ethnography of new evangelical strategies of engaging the public and the poor in four major U.S. cities. Based on twelve months of intensive ethnographic fieldwork with faith-based community organizing, community development, political advocacy, and service-volunteer groups in Portland, Los Angeles, Atlanta, and Boston—including over 90 in-depth interviews with evangelical and non-evangelical activists, community leaders, and neighborhood residents—this work is designed to contribute to our social-scientific and normative understanding of the ideas, habits, and institutions with potential to enhance ethical democracy in America, and of the possibilities and limits of evangelicalism’s role in such efforts.
In addition to its development as a book manuscript, this research is also the basis for several articles. In “The Public Sociology of Religion,” I define and call attention to the public sociology of religion and assess new evangelical practices of participation, presence, and power in American civil society for their potential to advance ethical democracy in the United States. “Reflexive Evangelicalism,” published in Political Power and Social Theory, demonstrates how particularistic religious convictions can motivate effective practices of intellectual humility in support democratic pluralism, inclusivity, and solidarity across difference. This article challenges widespread notions that increasing strength of religious conviction always moves in lockstep with increasing dogmatism, tribalism, and intellectual unreasonableness. “Secular Evangelicals: Faith-Based Organizing and Four Modes of Public Religion,” forthcoming in Sociology of Religion (with Richard Wood and Brad Fulton), develops a four-fold analytic typology of public religion—secularist, generalist pluralist, particularist pluralist, and exclusivist—and discusses conditions under which white evangelicals employ these different modes based on national-level quantitative and ethnographic data. An invited forum essay in Religion & American Culture explores the topic, “Studying Religion in the Age of Trump.”
Recent Articles & Essays (Selected):
Markofski, Wes. 2018. “The Other Evangelicals.” Series on American Religion, Humility, and Democracy. The Immanent Frame.
Randall Balmer, Kate Bowler, Anthea Butler, Maura Jane Farrelly, Wes Markofski, Robert Orsi, Jerry Z. Park, James Clark Davidson, Matthew Avery Sutton, Grace Yukich. 2017. “FORUM: Studying Religion in the Age of Trump.” Religion and American Culture: A Journal of Interpretation 27 (1): 2-56. Web. PDF.
Markofski, Wes. “WW(W)ED? The Evangelical Question in 2016.”