Journal Article

Reconceptualizing Religious Change: Ethno-Apostasy and Change in Religion Among American Jews

Benjamin T. Phillips and Shaul Kelner

in Sociology of Religion

Published on behalf of Association for the Sociology of Religion

Volume 67, issue 4, pages 507-543
Published in print January 2006 | ISSN: 1069-4404
Published online January 2006 | e-ISSN: 1759-8818 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/socrel/67.4.507
Reconceptualizing Religious Change: Ethno-Apostasy and Change in Religion Among American Jews

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Drawing upon data from the NJPS 2000–1, we argue that traditional approaches to the study of religious mobility — both apostasy and switching — are increasingly problematic. Apostasy from ethno-religious communities, in particular, must be reformulated to incorporate an ethnic dimension. Analyses using this revised concept of “ethno-apostasy” lead to results that at times diverge from those of previous research. The findings suggest that the premise that religious switching is a binary change from one mutually incompatible state to another must be reconceptualized to account for declining support in American society for the assumption that a person can hold only one religious affiliation at a time.

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Subjects: Religion ; Sociology of Religion

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