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date: 21 June 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Discussing deconversion in a handbook on conversion is necessary because a growing number of people choose to disaffiliate from their religion, some with and some without reaffiliation. Disaffiliation processes constitute an independent field of study, and the term “deconversion” thereby serves as a reminder of the depth and intensity of biographical change and the new orientation of one’s life that may be associated with disaffiliation. This chapter offers a proposal for conceptualizing deconversion. Then it discusses recent quantitative and qualitative research relevant for understanding deconversion: recent survey data from the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life and the International Social Survey Program allow quantitative estimates of the deconversion trajectories in the religious fields of the United States and Germany; and the Bielefeld-based Study on Deconversion yields psychometric and biographical perspectives on deconversion and the construction of a typology of deconversion narratives.

Keywords: deconversion, disaffiliation, change of religion, religious switching, religious change, deconversion trajectory, deconversion narrative, religious field, Pew Forum, ISSP

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