Institution: Harvard University

Position: Fellow in Sociology


Alison Denton Jones is a Fellow in Sociology at Harvard University for 
2019-2020 while on a book sabbatical. Her research interests include 
cultural and organizational sociology, religion, social movements, civil 
society, urban studies, China and East Asia, and research methodology, 
especially qualitative methods. Jones’ research engages with 
long-standing questions in sociology regarding the role of religion in a 
modern society, especially in cities, and with the diffusion and 
adaptation of Western conceptual and organizational models in other 
“modernizing” societies. She primarily focuses on urban religion and 
organizations in Chinese and North American societies.

Her current book project, “Blood Drives, Bodhisattvas, and Blogs: Doing 
Buddhism in China’s 21st Century Urban Middle Class,” offers the first 
picture of an overlooked piece of China’s urban religious landscape: the 
vast number of white collar urbanites who practice Buddhism. The book 
shows how cosmopolitan urban Buddhists seek to create authentic and 
useful Buddhist practices, organizations, and narratives about 
religion’s place in society, while negotiating pressures for legitimacy 
with the state, from skeptics of religion among their peers, and the 
ubiquitous pressures of daily urban life.

Alison Denton Jones
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