1. Nostalgia and the Discourse Concerning 'Nones'
Steven W Ramey [+]
University of Alabama
Discussions about those who respond to surveys as having no religion intensified when survey results reported an increase in these responses. The common identification of these respondents as “Nones” did not arise from the survey respondents themselves but involved sociologists and the media in the construction of a group from diverse respondents. This label traces back to the 1960s when Glenn Vernon encouraged greater attention to these respondents, and has been a topic of analysis ever since. Multiple surveys employ different questions and response options, and the characteristics of those identified as nones show significant diversity in practice and belief, yet many still gloss this variety as “Nones.” Various organizations and institutions have used this newly constructed group for their own purposes. The formation of the nones also reflects various ideological assumptions such as individualism and nostalgia for a time with clear religious identifications. The attempt in this chapter is to understand the dynamics of the construction of the nones, which illustrates the ways identifications and groups come into existence.