Embodied Cultural Transitions in Latino Protestant Congregations

Doctoral Dissertation


This study investigates how bodily discipline in immigrant religious communities contributes to shared cultural logics regarding how groups understand their presence and purpose in their host country. Immigrant Latino Protestants are a growing and important group in the increasing demographic and religious diversity of the United States. To understand the distinctive significance of Latino Protestants, we need to know how local congregations produce people with particular orientations to family and society. I examine the regulation, discipline, and presentation of immigrant bodies as it relates to collective processes of incorporation at two Latino Protestant organizations. Despite the similarities between the two congregations as religious bodies of Latino immigrants, important distinctions arise in how the congregations evaluate individual and collective orientations to the family, the church community, and the broader society. I argue that religious contexts shape immigrant experience and acculturation by being places of bodily retooling, where ethnic, religious, and class attachments and identities can be reformed. As first- and second-generation Latino immigrants become embedded in communities that shape immigrant experience and acculturation through bodily discipline, their experience in the United States is changed and interpreted. This has implications for how immigrants are integrated into the fabric of society or marginalized to the side.


Attribute NameValues
Alternate Title
  • Embodied Cultural Transitions

Author Karen Hooge Michalka
Contributor Christian Smith, Committee Member
Contributor Jennifer Jones, Committee Member
Contributor Terry McDonnell, Committee Member
Contributor Mary Ellen Konieczny, Research Director
Contributor Lyn Spillman, Research Director
Degree Level Doctoral Dissertation
Degree Discipline Sociology
Degree Name Doctor of Philosophy
Defense Date
  • 2017-05-05

Submission Date 2017-06-22
  • Latino

  • acculturation

  • congregation

  • culture

  • immigration

  • religion

  • incorporation

  • Protestantism

  • English

  • Spanish

Record Visibility Public
Content License
  • All rights reserved

Departments and Units

Digital Object Identifier


This DOI is the best way to cite this doctoral dissertation.


Please Note: You may encounter a delay before a download begins. Large or infrequently accessed files can take several minutes to retrieve from our archival storage system.