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Witnessing Suburbia: Conservatives and Christian Youth Culture

Witnessing Suburbia: Conservatives and Christian Youth Culture

Abstract

BOOK REVIEWS dependency model, or reception theory, to name only a few. Gabriel Weimann University of Haifa doi:10.1093/socrel/srq062 Advance Access Publication 17 June 2010 Witnessing Suburbia: Conservatives and Christian Youth Culture, by EILEEN LUHR. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2009, 280 pp.; $17.95 USD ( paper), $50.00 USD (cloth). In Witnessing Suburbia, historian Eileen Luhr makes an argument for what she calls the twin pillars of evangelical activism: “the suburbanization of evangelicalism and the ‘Christianization’ of popular culture” (5). The development of an evangelical youth culture takes place against a backdrop of a burgeoning suburbia—which accounted for nearly half of the total population of the United States by the 1990s. A major theme running through the book is how this evangelical youth culture paradoxically clings to a rebellious outsider status while also embracing the white, middle-class, gender norms of suburban America and evangelical Christianity. Luhr begins with an instructive illustration of the struggle of evangelicals with popular culture. She offers up two icons of the 1950s, Elvis Presley and Pat Boone. Elvis was predominately portrayed as a bad boy of rock and roll, while Boone was the embodiment of the suburban family man. While conservatives in the 1950s
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