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Sociology of religion is the study of the relationship between religion and culture. Sociologists focus on the nature and structure of religious organizations and movements, leadership, the effect of religious commitment on individuals and social process or social change. Central to the discipline is the search for an adequate definition of religion and for a coherent explanation of the distinction between religious myth and social reality.
To reexamine the Weber Thesis pertaining to the relationship between ascetic Protestantism – especially Calvinism – and modern capitalism, as between an economic “spirit”…
To reexamine the Weber Thesis pertaining to the relationship between ascetic Protestantism – especially Calvinism – and modern capitalism, as between an economic “spirit” and an economic “structure,” in which the first is assumed to be the explanatory factor and the second the dependent variable.
The chapter provides an attempt to combine theoretical-empirical and comparative-historical approaches to integrate theory with evidence supplied by societal comparisons and historically specific cases.
The chapter identifies the general sociological core of the Weber Thesis as a classic endeavor in economic sociology (and thus substantive sociological theory) and separates it from its particular historical dimension in the form of an empirical generalization from history. I argue that such a distinction helps to better understand the puzzling double “fate” of the Weber Thesis in social science, its status of a model in economic sociology and substantive sociological theory, on the one hand, and its frequent rejection in history and historical economics, on the other. The sociological core of the Thesis, postulating that religion, ideology, and culture generally deeply impact economy, has proved to be more valid, enduring, and even paradigmatic, as in economic sociology, than its historical component establishing a special causal linkage between Calvinism and other types of ascetic Protestantism and the “spirit” and “structure” of modern capitalism in Western society at a specific point in history.
In addition to the two cases deviating from the Weber Thesis considered here, it is necessary to investigate and identify the validity of the Thesis with regard to concrete historical and empirical instances.
The chapter provides the first effort to systematically analyze and distinguish between the sociological core and the historical components of the Weber Thesis as distinct yet intertwined components.
This article examines Max Weber’s theory of value spheres as a basis for a polytheistic religious sociology of institutional life. Weber’s approach implies institutional…
This article examines Max Weber’s theory of value spheres as a basis for a polytheistic religious sociology of institutional life. Weber’s approach implies institutional theory as a form of comparative religion. Two problems present themselves. If the values of the spheres are to be considered as “gods,” they do not align easily with Weber’s sociology of religion. Given that love was central both as a driver and a constituent in Weber’s understanding of salvation religions, it also implies that love be incorporated into our theorizing of institutional life, something entirely absent in the way we think about enduring forms of social organization. Taking the second seriously may enable us to fabricate a solution to the first.
Uses qualitative data to explore how contemporary religious beliefs mark conceptions of work, particularly with regards to the beliefs of conservative protestant women…
Uses qualitative data to explore how contemporary religious beliefs mark conceptions of work, particularly with regards to the beliefs of conservative protestant women. Compares liberal protestant women and men as well as conservative men against this group. States that conservative women consider motherhood as their most important work yet they are also most likely to feel “called” to their paid work. Cites that this has important implications for the sociological literature on gender and work. Builds on the original work of Max Weber.
Religious institutions can affect organizational practices when employees bring their religious commitments and practices into the workplace. But those religious…
Religious institutions can affect organizational practices when employees bring their religious commitments and practices into the workplace. But those religious commitments function in the midst of other organizational factors that influence the working out of employees’ religious commitments. This process can generate varying outcomes in organizational contexts, ranging from a heightened effect of religious commitment on employee behavior to a negligible or nonexistent influence of religion on employee behavior. Relying on social identity theory and schematic social cognition as unifying frameworks for the study of religious behavior, we develop a theoretically informed approach to understanding how and why the religious beliefs, commitments and practices employees bring to work have varying behavioral impacts.
Despite its central importance in nearly all societies, religion has been largely neglected in the study of organizations and management. In this introduction to the…
Despite its central importance in nearly all societies, religion has been largely neglected in the study of organizations and management. In this introduction to the volume on religion and organization theory, we argue that such neglect limits unnecessarily the relevance and scope of organization and management theory (OMT) and that there is therefore great value in connecting organizational research with a deeper appreciation and concern for religion. We begin by speculating about some of the reasons why organization and management theorists are hesitant to study religion, and go on to discuss some nascent points of contact between religion and OMT. We conclude with a discussion of the articles in this volume, which represent an attempt to remedy this unfortunate blind spot within OMT scholarship.
A growing interdisciplinary literature explores how people can simultaneously hold strong convictions and remain open to the possibility of learning from others with whom…
A growing interdisciplinary literature explores how people can simultaneously hold strong convictions and remain open to the possibility of learning from others with whom they disagree. This tension impacts not only knowledge development but also public discourse within a diverse and disagreeing democracy. This volume of Political Power and Social Theory considers the specific question of how religious convictions inform how people engage in democratic life, particularly across deep political divides. In this introduction, I begin by discussing how a narrow vision of religious citizens as dogmatic believers has led observers to frame religion as a concerning source of democratic distortion – encouraging too much arrogance and not enough humility. Yet this dogmatic believer narrative captures only one aspect of American religion. Juxtaposing a snapshot of dogmatic believers alongside two other snapshots of religious groups engaging in political life raises complex questions about the relationship between religious conviction, humility, and democracy in a time of deep political polarization. I argue that answering these questions requires a sociological approach that is attuned to power, context, culture, institutions, and history. At the same time, I show how attention to the tension between conviction and humility has the potential to enrich the sociological study of religion and democracy, and particularly ethnographic research across the moral/political divide.
This article reviews the historical development of the treatment of religious organizations in journals centered on religion.
The article asks four questions: (1) Are religious organizations different from other kinds of organizations? (2) What factors produce differences or similarities between religious and other organizations? (3) Are religious organizations different from each other?
Differences from other kinds of organizations are based in beliefs/theology. But there is a constant concern with the bureaucratization of religious organizations as they are subject to general organizational influences such as scale and geographical dispersion. However, it is argued that these general influences emanate from belief systems. We suggest the need for a renewed attention to a comparative organizations perspective in organization theory – one that appreciates the similarities and differences between sectors and within sectors.
Not only are there differences between religious and nonreligious organizations, but there are also substantial differences between religious organizations. There are also similarities between religious and nonreligious organizations, as well as similarities between religious organizations. The way forward for both the study of religious organizations and organizational theory in general is to look for explanations for these similarities and differences.
While the relevance and rationale of strategic communication in organized religion are prevalent in academic and professional literature, there exists a dearth of both…
While the relevance and rationale of strategic communication in organized religion are prevalent in academic and professional literature, there exists a dearth of both theoretical concepts and empirical knowledge, especially from a European perspective. Therefore, this chapter examines how strategic communication can be modelled in organized religion with its specific characteristics and logics by building a framework for strategic communication in this field of research. The framework questions perspectives of strategic communication and communication management that only concentrate on entities like famous persons, groups, movements or organizations and less on belief systems, organized and less organized entities interacting with each other. Religious organizations follow other rationalities like companies or non-profit organizations. Therefore, theories of corporate communication or public relations do not fit within the realm of organized religion, whose mission goes far beyond the organization. Taking into account religious institutions in strategic communication, this chapter delivers new theoretical insights by demonstrating how strategic communication can contribute to the specific purposes of organized religion. Furthermore, the study indicates the specific challenges communication professionals working in the area of religion are confronted with. Finally, it offers practical solutions for the specific field of organized religion by evolving specific target horizons of organized religion. Activating and developing the communication function of more or less independent bodies are main tasks for communication professionals working in organized religion and other meta-organizations.