The Polis Center Logo

Project on Religion and Urban Culture - Public Inquiry

Project Research
Study Neighborhoods
RUC Newsletters
RUC Books
RUC Videos
Curriculum Materials
Other Publications
Project Staff
Search Project
Contact Us
Site Map
Project Home
The Polis Center Home Page
The public inquiry component emphasizes our commitment to asking and researching the often-difficult questions relevant to both the public and to scholars of religion. Many of our research questions are directly generated from our partnerships with public institutions and community groups.

One important topic we are pursuing is the role religion plays in creating "social capital"—the ties that bind us in community. Religion helps to create community networks; contributes to a spirit of decency, order, and continuity in neighborhoods; and helps incorporate new neighbors into the community. Few institutions of society serve these functions on such a large scale.

Our approach employs multiple disciplines and a variety of tools, from gathering and analyzing statistical data to observing in the field. Our partnerships with religious and community groups afford us an unusual degree of access and opportunities for mutual understanding. We hope to comprehend not only the larger forces at work—religious, historical, social, economic, political—but to learn about the role individuals and congregations play in sustaining communities.

Voices of Faith, published by The Polis Center and distributed by Indiana University Press, profiles 26 individuals from the city’s neighborhoods. These are ordinary people whose extraordinary service to their communities grows out of their religious faith.

Polis Center Navigation