Christian suggestion

M. Lynne Murphy M_Lynne_Murphy at BAYLOR.EDU
Sun Nov 7 22:49:04 UTC 1999

>From: beth lee simon <simon at HOME2.MYSOLUTION.COM>

>Has no one done an article on the sociolx of "christian" (as noun and/or
>modifier) in AmerEng.? If not, there is clearly at least one out there, waiting.

This is actually on my list of things to do, since I've been working on
other social group labels (race & sexual orientation). Religious labels
bring up some issues that others don't--self-labeling and choice are greater
factors, although many of these labels (and the behaviors that go with them)
are "inherited" from the family (nevertheless, people tend to believe
they've made a choice and that others without the same background
might/should also make the same choice).  I expect that there would be quite
a bit of difference between label semantics for proselytizing and
non-proselytizing groups.

What I am unlikely to do is a survey of many different groups to find out
how they define "Christian" and try to map that.  What I am likely to do is
to concentrate on a few groups (some ingroup, some outgroup) and see how the
word works from their perspectives. I'm particularly interested in looking
at a few cognitive social-psychology hypotheses (discussed in my article
"The Elusive Bisexual" in _Queerly Phrased_) and see whether the religious
labels behave in the ways that they are predicted to behave in terms of
inclusiveness/exclusiveness, polarity, etc.

So, there's lots of work on "Christian" to be done.  I'm not going to get to
this for at least a year, because I'm still obsessed lexical organization.
Nevertheless, I'd love to hear from other people who are working on it to
build up my pre-working bibliography...


M. Lynne Murphy
Baylor University

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