Chapter

Robbing the Devil of His Choice Tunes

Pamela J. Walker

in Pulling the Devil's Kingdom Down

Published by University of California Press

Published in print February 2001 | ISBN: 9780520225916
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520925854 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520225916.003.0006
Robbing the Devil of His Choice Tunes

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Salvationists had religious convictions that did not encourage a withdrawal from the world. Instead, their convictions promoted an engagement with the world and the working class neighborhoods of late Victorian cities. They were lively, diverse, commercial, and residential communities with a variety of social, commercial, political, and religious influences. This varied and changing neighborhood culture challenged Salvationists to articulate their religion in an urban working-class idiom to capture the attention, and the hearts, of the working class. Salvationists strived both to revitalize well-established Nonconformist traditions of sobriety, virtue, and independence and to infuse commercial entertainment with a Christian morality. The Salvation Army's innovative negotiation of varieties of popular politics, culture, and religion demonstrates the vitality of the movement, and it helps account for the Army's notoriety and popularity. It also complicates easy assumptions about a secularized working class or the incompatibility of working-class popular culture and religion.

Keywords: Salvationists; working class; religion; sobriety; virtue; independence; morality; Salvation Army; politics; culture

Chapter.  13000 words. 

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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