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Becoming a Buddhist: The Duality of Ritual and Belief

Structure, Content and Meaning of Organizational Networks

ISBN: 978-1-78714-434-7, eISBN: 978-1-78714-433-0

Publication date: 26 September 2017


Drawing on insights from a yearlong ethnography and in-depth survey of the members of a Buddhist monastery located in the heart of modern Europe, we examine how members of the organization come to be more or less involved in the organization and in its core institutional logic. Here we present an exploratory analysis of how individuals’ beliefs about Buddhism and its relationship to everyday life are deeply intertwined with and articulated into different regimes of organizational activities, rituals, and religious practices. Borrowing from institutional logics theory, we use methods for illustrating the relational structure that articulates dualities linking beliefs and practices together. We show that dually ordered assemblages can reveal different types of logics embraced by different members of an organization. Our principal contention is that the greater the structural alignment between an individual’s belief structure, their repertoire of practices, and the institutional logic of the organization, the more well integrated that individual will likely be within the organization, the higher the probability of transformational changes of personal identity, as well as the greater probability of overall success in organizational membership recruitment and retention.




We thank Ronald Breiger, Roger Friedland, Peter Groenewegen, Steven Vaisey, Marc Ventresca, and Robin Wagner-Pacifici for their detailed and insightful comments on the paper. This paper has benefited from the help of Joanne M. Vitello and Ven. Lama Dorje Dondrub. Versions of the paper have been presented at the International Sunbelt Social Network Conference XXXII, Redondo Beach, California (March 2012), at the American Sociological Association Annual Meeting, San Francisco, California (August 2014), and at the European Sociological Association meetings, Prague, Czech Republic (August 2015). We thank all of those colleagues and commentators at each of these venues whose comments and suggestions have helped us to strengthen the paper. This work is based on research funded by the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation (COS2010-21761).


Rodríguez, J.A., Mohr, J.W. and Halcomb, L. (2017), "Becoming a Buddhist: The Duality of Ritual and Belief", Structure, Content and Meaning of Organizational Networks (Research in the Sociology of Organizations, Vol. 53), Emerald Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 143-176.



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