Date of Award

Fall 12-2013

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Religious Studies

First Advisor

Dr. Kathryn McClymond

Second Advisor

Dr. David Bell

Third Advisor

Dr. Molly Bassett



In loosely structured narrative interviews, individuals discussed their personal religious life stories in the context of their lives, from childhood to the present. They ended up creating coherent narratives that encompassed much more than their religious traditions. The coherency of their stories was through the use of dispositions. Dispositions are the common themes, people, or other narrative schema which the narrator used consistently throughout the story, and are identified by narrative elements that repeat and anchor the narrative. Dispositions found in interviews for the Religious Life Stories Project by the GSU Religious Studies Department include familial, outlier, socioeconomic, contributive, influential, obedient, somatic, and traveler. Analysis of the dipositions in the context of these narratives illuminates the variety of ways traditional religion manifests in individuals’ lives. Furthermore, dispositions provide a theoretical basis for studying individual religion comparatively across doctrinal religious traditions.