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Carroll, Michael P. 1944–

Carroll, Michael P. 1944–

PERSONAL:

Born July 26, 1944.

ADDRESSES:

Office—Social Science Centre, Ste. 5306, University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario N6A 5C2, Canada. E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER:

Sociologist, educator, and writer. University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada, professor of sociology.

WRITINGS:

The Cult of the Virgin Mary: Psychological Origins, Princeton University Press (Princeton, NJ), 1986.

Catholic Cults and Devotions: A Psychological Inquiry, McGill-Queen's University Press (Kingston, Ontario, Canada), 1989.

Madonnas That Maim: Popular Catholicism in Italy since the Fifteenth Century, Johns Hopkins University Press (Baltimore, MD), 1992.

Veiled Threats: The Logic of Popular Catholicism in Italy, Johns Hopkins University Press (Baltimore, MD), 1996.

Irish Pilgrimage: Holy Wells and Popular Catholic Devotion, Johns Hopkins University Press (Baltimore, MD), 1999.

The Penitente Brotherhood: Patriarchy and Hispano-Catholicism in New Mexico, Johns Hopkins University Press (Baltimore, MD), 2002.

American Catholics in the Protestant Imagination: Rethinking the Academic Study of Religion, Johns Hopkins University Press (Baltimore, MD), 2007.

Contributor to books, including Introduction to Sociology: A Canadian Focus, 5th edition, edited by J.J. Teevan and W.E. Hewitt, Prentice Hall Canada, 1995; contributor to professional journals, including Psychology of Women Quarterly.

SIDELIGHTS:

Sociologist Michael P. Carroll is the author of several books that focus on various psychological and sociological aspects of the Catholic religion. In his first two books, The Cult of the Virgin Mary: Psychological Origins and Catholic Cults and Devotions: A Psychological Inquiry, the author writes about "various aspects of international popular Catholicism within an explanatory framework of orthodox Freudian psychoanalysis," according to Journal of Social History contributor Micheal Thompson.

Carroll's third book, Madonnas That Maim: Popular Catholicism in Italy since the Fifteenth Century, continues in a similar vein with a focus on popular Catholicism in Italy. In addition to providing an overview of English-language literature on Catholicism in Italy, the author discusses important Italian works on the subject and provides an in-depth analysis and explanation of the works. Writing in the book's introduction, the author notes that "what I discovered when I began to explore the similarities and historical links between Catholicism generally and Italian Catholicism in particular was that the latter is not very well described in the English-language literature."

Carroll focuses specifically on the relationship of Italian Catholics with supernatural beings. The author writes in his introduction: "Popular Catholicism is best seen as being concerned with supernatural beings, and the most important such beings in Italy are the ones associated with three terms: Christ, Mary, and saint." The author begins his book with an examination of metacults associated with these three categories of supernatural beings. He goes on to examine issues with Mary and saints in more depth and then explores some of the darker aspects associated with Italian Catholics' devotion to saints and madonnas. He discusses regional differences within Italy and then delves into masochism and magic associated with the view of supernatural beings in southern Italy. The author concludes his book with an explanation of patterns of religious devotion in the cases he has discussed.

"One of the most valuable contributions of this book is the excellent synthesis for the anglophone world of the wealth of research and publications on popular Catholicism in Italy," wrote Robert A. White in Sociology of Religion. "Also valuable is the review of a variety of conceptions of popular religiosity/popular Catholicism and Carroll's own theoretical framework." Writing in the Journal of Interdisciplinary History, Richard C. Trexler noted: "Besides making accessible to an English audience much of the important work in Italian on religious practice in Italy, Carroll's book is distinguished by its scientific earnestness and its absence of religious ideology; these characteristics are lacking in most of the earlier literature that the author summarizes."

The author continues his examination of Catholicism in Italy in his next book, Veiled Threats: The Logic of Popular Catholicism in Italy. This time the author explores in greater depth the various practices and beliefs that distinguish Italian popular Catholicism from popular Catholicism in other parts of the world. In addition, Carroll examines how the Catholicism of the general public in Italy has interacted over the centuries with the official Catholicism represented by the Roman Catholic Church and the papacy. "Readers with mind-sets ready for applications of psychological theory to whole nations of people will find much to consider," noted Rudolph M. Bell in the Journal of Social History. Bell also wrote in his review: "Carroll's wide-ranging opinions are always clear."

Irish Pilgrimage: Holy Wells and Popular Catholic Devotion examines both the pre-nineteenth century practice among Irish Catholics to make long pilgrimages to holy wells and the rituals that they performed there. Contrary to earlier scholarship that sees these pilgrimages and practices as being associated with ancient pagan traditions, the author presents his theory that these practices actually developed following the Reformation as part of an effort to incorporate practices and ideas that came from Counter-Reformation Europe into traditions that were characteristically Irish. Referring to the book as "fascinating and engaging," Sociology of Religion contributor Gareth Higgins went on to comment in the same review: "In sum, Carroll's work here is well structured, concise, and offered with no small amount of wit. It also includes an abundance of beautifully reproduced photographs of pilgrimage sites in Ireland." Writing in the English Historical Review, Mary Heimann noted that "there is a good deal of sense, as well as ungrounded speculation, in this book, and it is a lively and thought-provoking read throughout."

Carroll presents another alternative to widely held scholarly views in his book The Penitente Brotherhood: Patriarchy and Hispano-Catholicism in New Mexico. The author argues that the Penitente Brotherhood of New Mexico in the early nineteenth century did not form its spiritually based beliefs from practices introduced to the Americas by sixteenth-century Franciscan missionaries but rather developed these practices years later. The brotherhood, according to Carroll, developed in concordance with various social changes in the eighteenth century, such as the Bourbon reforms, carried out by the Bourbon rulers of Spain who looked to undermine patriarchal authority. The author argues that, contrary to carrying on traditions of the past, the Penitente Brotherhood actually represented a search for patriarchal authority. He also discusses what he views as a latent homoerotic desire associated with the paternal figure of Jesus. "A gifted, lucid writer and a great narrator of fiction, the Canadian sociologist Michael Carroll takes a revisionist orientation in examining an often misunderstood group," wrote Michelle Madsen Camacho in the Catholic Historical Review. In his review in Church History, Christopher Vecsey noted: "Carroll is a storyteller. More analytical than anecdotal, but he creates a convincing narrative from the primary sources and the logic of social scientific theory available to him."

In American Catholics in the Protestant Imagination: Rethinking the Academic Study of Religion, Carroll presents his case that the "Protestant imagination" continued to be a dominating factor in the academic study of religion in the United States. In the process, he writes about various myths concerning Catholicism in the United States and reconsiders the standard stories associated with Italian American, Acadian/Cajun, and Hispanic Catholicism. Writing in the book's introduction, the author notes that "every chapter … seeks to identify some historigraphical puzzles in the study of American religion." Carroll adds: "Thus, we … encounter staunch Irish Presbyterians in the colonial era who weren't very staunch, Irish Catholic Famine immigrants who came to America in the wake of Ireland's devotional revolution who weren't very devout, Italian Catholics clinging to the saints and madonnas they knew in their natal villages who really didn't cling very hard, Cajun Catholics whose Catholicism may be something quite different from what it appears to be, a strongly matricentered Hispanic Catholicism that turns out not to be matricentered at all, and more."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

BOOKS

Carroll, Michael P. Madonnas That Maim: Popular Catholicism in Italy since the Fifteenth Century, Johns Hopkins University Press (Baltimore, MD), 1992.

Carroll, Michael P. American Catholics in the Protestant Imagination: Rethinking the Academic Study of Religion, Johns Hopkins University Press (Baltimore, MD), 2007.

PERIODICALS

America, December 16, 1989, Rosemary Chinnici, review of Catholic Cults and Devotions: A Psychological Inquiry, p. 455.

American Historical Review, April, 1998, David I. Kertzer, review of Veiled Threats: The Logic of Popular Catholicism in Italy, p. 547; April, 2005, Timothy Matovina, review of The Penitente Brotherhood: Patriarchy and Hispano-Catholicism in New Mexico, p. 484.

American Journal of Sociology, March, 1998, Adriano Prosperi, review of Veiled Threats, p. 1481.

Americas: A Quarterly Review of Inter-American Cultural History, October, 2004, Ramon A. Gutierrez, The Penitente Brotherhood, p. 315.

Canadian Journal of Sociology, spring, 1990, review of Catholic Cults and Devotions, p. 231.

Canadian Literature, spring, 1990, review of Catholic Cults and Devotions, p. 390.

Canadian Review of Sociology and Anthropology, August, 1990, Michael W. Cuneo, review of Catholic Cults and Devotions, p. 432.

Catholic Historical Review, October, 1990, Eamon R. Carroll, review of The Cult of the Virgin Mary: Psychological Origins, p. 814; January, 1998, Thomas Kselman, review of Veiled Threats, p. 108; January, 2007, Michelle Madsen Camacho, review of The Penitente Brotherhood, p. 205.

Church History, March, 2001, review of Irish Pilgrimage: Holy Wells and Popular Catholic Devotion, p. 172; June, 2007, Christopher Vecsey, review of The Penitente Brotherhood, p. 445.

Commonweal, October 9, 1987, Lawrence S. Cunningham, review of The Cult of the Virgin Mary, p. 569; March 11, 1988, review of The Cult of the Virgin Mary, p. 150.

Comparative Studies in Society and History, October, 1991, David Blackbourn, review of Catholic Cults and Devotions, p. 778; October, 1991, David Blackbourn, review of The Cult of the Virgin Mary, p. 778.

Contemporary Sociology, May, 1988, John H. Gagnon, review of The Cult of the Virgin Mary, p. 376; July, 1990, Guy E. Swanson, review of Catholic Cults and Devotions, p. 598; March, 1998, Michael W. Cuneo, review of Veiled Threats, p. 171; January, 2001, Michael J. McCallion, review of Irish Pilgrimage, p. 54; September, 2004, Michael P. Carroll, review of The Penitente Brotherhood, p. 562.

English Historical Review, February, 2001, Mary Heimann, review of Irish Pilgrimage, p. 237.

European History Quarterly, April, 1994, Frances Lannon, review of Madonnas That Maim: Popular Catholicism in Italy since the Fifteenth Century, p. 291.

Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, December, 2004, review of The Penitente Brotherhood.

Journal of American Folklore, spring, 1992, Leonard Norman Primiano, review of Catholic Cults and Devotions, p. 250.

Journal of Church and State, autumn, 1988, Elizabeth A. Johnson, review of The Cult of the Virgin Mary, p. 608.

Journal of Interdisciplinary History, autumn, 1994, Richard C. Trexler, review of Madonnas That Maim, p. 311.

Journal of Modern History, December, 1994, Carlos M.N. Eire, review of Madonnas That Maim, p. 823.

Journal of Religion, April, 1988, Joseph F. Byrnes, review of The Cult of the Virgin Mary, p. 277; July, 1998, Sandra L. Zimdars-Swartz, review of Veiled Threats, p. 441.

Journal of Religious History, June, 2005, review of Irish Pilgrimage.

Journal of Social History, summer, 1994, Micheal Thompson, review of Madonnas That Maim, p. 845; winter, 1998, Rudolph M. Bell, review of Veiled Threats, p. 446; winter, 2001, David W. Miller, review of Irish Pilgrimage, p. 450.

National Catholic Reporter, July 3, 1987, Kathleen Peters Branca, review of The Cult of the Virgin Mary, p. 13.

New Republic, June 15, 1987, John Boswell, review of The Cult of the Virgin Mary, p. 37.

Reference & Research Book News, February, 1997, review of Veiled Threats, p. 11; May, 2000, review of Irish Pilgrimage, p. 15; November, 2003, review of The Penitente Brotherhood, p. 25; February, 2008, "American Catholics in the Protestant Imagination: Rethinking the Academic Study of Religion."

Sixteenth Century Journal, spring, 2001, Raymond Gillepsie, review of Irish Pilgrimage, p. 200; spring, 2005, Kelly Donahue-Wallace, review of The Penitente Brotherhood, p. 240.

Sociology of Religion, spring, 1993, Robert A. White, review of Madonnas That Maim, p. 124; summer, 2001, Gareth Higgins, review of Irish Pilgrimage, p. 263; fall, 2007, Enrique R. Lamadrid, review of The Penitente Brotherhood, p. 328.

Theological Studies, March, 1990, W.W. Meissner, review of Catholic Cults and Devotions, p. 148.

Times Literary Supplement, October 13, 1989, Jonathan Sumption, review of Catholic Cults and Devotions, p. 1121.

University of Toronto Quarterly, winter, 2000, Sheridan Gilley, review of Irish Pilgrimage, p. 301.

ONLINE

Johns Hopkins University Press Web site,http://www.press.jhu.edu/ (July 23, 2008), brief profile of author.

University of Western Ontario, Department of Sociology Web site,http://www.ssc.uwo.ca/sociology/ (July 23, 2008), faculty profile of author.

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