- The Oxford Handbook of Religious Conversion
- History and Religious Conversion
- Demographics of Religious Conversion
- Geographies of Religious Conversion
- Anthropology of Religious Conversion
- The Role of Language in Religious Conversion
- Sociology of Religious Conversion
- Conversion and the Historic Spread of Religions
- Migration and Conversion of Korean American Christians
- Psychology of Religious Conversion and Spiritual Transformation
- Religious Conversion and Cognitive Neuroscience
- Dreaming and Religious Conversion
- Feminist Approaches to the Study of Religious Conversion
- Seeing Religious Conversion Through the Arts
- Religious Conversion as Narrative and Autobiography
- Religious Conversion and Semiotic Analysis
- Political Science and Religious Conversion
- Hinduism and Conversion
- Conversion to Jain Identity
- Buddhist Conversion in the Contemporary World
- Conversion to Sikhism
- Adherence and Conversion to Daoism
- Conversion and Confucianism
- “Conversion” and the Resurgence of Indigenous Religion in China
- Conversion to Judaism
- Conversion to Christianity
- Conversion to Islam in Theological and Historical Perspectives
- “Conversion” to Islam and the Construction of a Pious Self
- Conversion to New Religious Movements
- Disengagement and Apostasy in New Religious Movements
- Legal and Political Issues and Religious Conversion
- Conversion and Retention in Mormonism
Abstract and Keywords
Sociological analysis of conversion was once dominated by the Lofland-Stark model. However, recent research has moved beyond that model’s mostly micro-level approach. Studies of congregations, ritual, and embodied religion demonstrate the importance of social institutions. Other paradigms are now available too, such as the religious economies approach. In addition, it is now clear that social context, culture, globalism, and so on—macro-level factors, in other words—are of great consequence in conversion. Such contextual aspects need to be treated as the primary influence underlying conversion in some societies. China is a useful example of this, especially the rise of Christianity in China, which exhibits characteristics of a mass movement. In sum, this chapter presents the contemporary sociological study of conversion at three levels of analysis—micro, meso, and macro—and explores the advantages of each.
Fenggang Yang is Professor of Sociology and Director of the Center on Religion and Chinese Society at Purdue University, Indiana.
Andrew Stuart Abel is Assistant Professor of Sociology at Hastings College, Hastings, Nebraska.
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