From canopies to conversations: the continuing significance of "plausibility structures"
Ammerman, Nancy T.
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Citation (published version)Ammerman, N. (2018). From Canopies to Conversations: The Continuing Significance of ‘Plausibility Structures’. In T. Hjelm (Authors), Peter L. Berger and the Sociology of Religion: 50 Years after The Sacred Canopy (pp. 27–42). New York: Bloomsbury Academic. http://dx.doi.org/10.5040/9781350061910.0007
Among the most generative – but oft-misunderstood – ideas found in Peter Berger’s magisterial work is the idea that religions depend on plausibility structures. This assertion points toward the social worlds in which religious ideas and practices take on meaning. The most powerful situation for a religious system is one in which the entire taken-for-granted world falls under a sacred canopy. The fracturing of that canopy was at the heart of the theory of secularization Berger put forward. This chapter argues that no such comprehensive canopy is necessary for sustaining religious systems. We should instead examine the social interaction at the base of the plausibility structures, namely the conversations in which a sacred view of the world is sustained. Likewise, we must situate those conversations in the practical, embodied, and material experiences described as “lived religion.”