Popular Voices in American Catholicism.

Levine, Daniel H. Popular Voices in American Catholicism. Princeton University Press, 1992.

Daniel H. Levine’s study is an expansive survey of how common people in Columbia and Venezuela voice their concerns and needs expressed in their actions as individuals and groups and the role played by Roman Catholicism in relation to these groups. Levine begins with broad description of general issues leading into analysis of particular themes with a short concluding reflection. Such description, Levine asserts, helps in understanding and explaining changes in culture, life, and religious associations of popular groups and the significance of politics in their daily lives. The core of the study is mapped along four different themes: (1) state, politics, and associational life, (2) socioeconomic and demographic changes, (3) church ideology, institutional structures, and organizational strategies; and (4) variations in the character of alternatives to official church programs. These also constitute the historical dimension of the study; what emerges is the central and constitutive role played by religion in shaping alternative institutional structures which do not conform to the established hierarchy, either political or religious.