Most adults spend the majority of their time at the workplace and organizing their lives through or around their occupations. While work is often portrayed as not personal or political, social science research continues to highlight how gender, race, and sexuality play an important role in organizing work and occupations. Recently, scholars are beginning to demonstrate that like gender, race, and sexuality, religion and spirituality are also deeply rooted in occupations and their organizations, the identities of workers, and the interactional dynamics at work. This week we ask, how does religion and spirituality shape work, and vice versa, and what do identities (gender, race, and sexuality) and inequalities have to do with it?
Our guest this week, Andres Lazaro Lopez PhD student in Applied Anthropology, is interested in the interplay between religion/spirituality and intersecting identities (gender, race, class, and sexuality) at and around work, especially for queer professionals. Andres’ focus is on Lived Religion, which centers on people’s choices about their relationship with religious practices, the spiritual language and communities that help filter the meaning of the religions they engage with, and the actual daily uses that result from both. How do people bring religion to work? How do individuals and groups make spiritual meaning out of their work and workplaces? What makes a location, activity, or object sacred? This is based on the idea that religion and spirituality is not contained within or limited to activities within a church or its organizations.
Growing up with two older masculine heterosexual brothers, Andres learned about code switching at an early age – how to use language and behavior differently for varying groups and audiences. As a young person making sense of his queerness, the practice of code switching taught him how masculinity and sexuality can shape interactions. His background led to his Bachelor’s in Sociology from Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio. His senior thesis was an empirical analysis of how college-aged men felt restricted by their masculinity.
After a short break from academia, Andres earned a Master’s degree in sociology from the University of Missouri – Kansas City. This is when the topics of religion and masculinity became intertwined for Andres; he studied the largest men’s ministry organization in the U.S., asking why men would join an all-men’s religious ministry and what motivated them to be regular participants.
Andres’ life has certainly shaped his career path. Now in the Oregon State program of Applied Anthropology, Andres is truly forging his own path in the field by approaching the intersection between identities, culture, and inequalities, and how they affect the performance of gay men in and around professional work. Tune in Sunday September, 11 at 7 pm to hear more or stream the show live.