Bellah, Robert Neelly

Bellah, Robert Neelly bĕlˈə [key],1927–2013, American sociologist and educator. He was educated at Harvard (Ph.D., 1955) and taught there before becoming Elliot professor of sociology at the Univ. of California at Berkeley. He wrote several books on the sociology of religion, including The Broken Covenant (1975), which won the Sorokin Award. His best-selling Habits of the Heart (1985) looks at questions of individualism and commitment in American life. Bellah was linked with the “new constructivists,” who argued that ordinary people use the cultural resources around them to actively construct meaning, resisting or undermining various forms of social control. Bellah's last major work was Religion in Human Evolution (2011).

See R. N. Bellah and S. M. Tipton, ed., The Robert Bellah Reader (2006).

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