51NQ04MJW5LDiamond, Etan. Souls of the City: Religion and the Search for Community in Postwar America Polis Center Series on Religion and Urban Culture. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2003.

The Author

diamondEtan Diamond

Etan Diamond is a senior research associate. An urban and religious historian, he studies changes in the Indianapolis religious and urban landscapes since World War II.


Diamond is a historian. He traces the historical development of the metropolitan area around Indianapolis during the last half of the twentieth century. He traces three regions: the suburbs, the central city, and the adjacent rural areas. A unique feature of Indianapolis is that it developed UniGov, a metropolitan political structure that brought the major bureaucracies of the metropolitan municipalities under the leadership of the mayor of Indianapolis. This was not annexation. The suburbs maintained their unique identities and managed their own school systems, but the major city works and utilities were brought under UniGov.

Diamond proposes, ultimately, that, while the evolving urban landscape has created transient lifestyles, the local congregations serve as a vital place for forming community. Displaced people seek faith-based organizations to make social connections. The reshaping of a sense of place from that of geographical location to one of time-distance correlation has made people willing to travel to non-adjacent suburbs in order to form community in local congregations. Diamond says that congregations are the necessary souls of the city.

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