Peter Marina holds a PhD from the New School for Social Research in New York City and currently teaches sociology at the University of Missouri – St. Louis. A native of New Orleans, he received his BA in Education and MA in Sociology at the University of New Orleans. While living in Brooklyn, Peter served as a lecturer at John Jay College of Criminal Justice (CUNY). Peter is an urban sociologist using the tools of ethnography to examine various aspects of the city, including the intersection of race/class/gender/ethnicity, religion in late-modernity, youth resistant subcultures, police culture and practices, Latina/o immigration and urban revitalization (in the New York metropolitan area), and community-based social movements – all with implications for action research. His book Getting the Holy Ghost: Urban Ethnography in a Brooklyn Tongue-speaking Pentecostal Church (Lexington Books: Press release February 1, 2013) focuses on African-American urban religion in late modernity. Peter currently teaches a variety of undergraduate and graduate classes at UMSL including urban sociology, problems in urban community, social movements, sociology of minority groups, masculinities, gender studies, qualitative social research, sociological writing/reporting, and sociology of conflict.
Peter's approach to sociology incorporates the striking dialectic of history and biography, allowing him to penetrate and interact with a range of culturally diverse social groups in his career – from public high school youth, to inner-city street kids, to urban Latino/a immigrants, to religiously inspired residents of the inner-city, and more recently, to police officers – in a quest to make sense both empirically and theoretically of this rapidly changing, reflexive, surprising and highly contradictory late-modern world.
Peter's first book (Lexington Books, February 2013) Getting the Holy Ghost: Urban Ethnography in a Brooklyn Pentecostal Tongue-Speaking Church carries an ethnographic signature in approach and style concerning an examination of a large Brooklyn, New York African American community church congregation based on a unique set of data: dozens of ethnographic notes taken over the course of almost four years in New York City. Getting the Holy Ghost puts outsiders inside the church pews, as it paints a portrait of piety, compassion, caring, love – all embraced through an embodiment perspective, as the church’s members experience these forces in the most personal ways through religious conversion. The book concerns the notion of “spectacle” because of the grand bodily display which is highlighted by spiritual struggle, social aspiration, punishment and spontaneous explosion of a variety of emotions in the public sphere. This work is an inspiring construct that provides both an historical and theoretical overview of the sociological work on religion, race, gender, post modernity and the Weberian concept of charisma as central analytical frames.
Peter is currently working on numerous articles that include urban youth community resistance in St. Louis, police cultures and practices in the New Orleans Police Department, and Latina/o immigration and urban revitalization (with David Gladstone) in the New York metropolitan area, and other articles on religion in late-modernity. Finally, Peter has been described by the famous cultural criminologist, Jock Young, as “delightfully insane,” a compliment he greatly appreciates.
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