Journal Article

‘Leadership’ or ‘Dialogue’? Women, Authority and Religious Change in a Netherlands Community

Tony Watling

in Sociology of Religion

Published on behalf of Association for the Sociology of Religion

Volume 63, issue 4, pages 515-538
Published in print January 2002 | ISSN: 1069-4404
Published online January 2002 | e-ISSN: 1759-8818 | DOI:
‘Leadership’ or ‘Dialogue’? Women, Authority and Religious Change in a Netherlands Community

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This article is concerned with religion and gender in the Netherlands, in particular the growing involvement and importance of women. Employing a comparative, qualitative analysis of ‘orthodox’ and ‘ liberal’ Reformed Protestants and Catholics in one particular community, it not only analyses different religious rules and regulations that discriminate between ‘male’ and ‘female’ but also the way different female believers interpret religious beliefs, undertake religious practices and influence their churches, thereby transforming religion. Religion, traditionally associated with dominant (male) authorities, has been challenged by recent changes that encourage individualism and cause fragmentation and diversity. Rather than decline, religion may adapt and accommodate change in diverse ways. Women may be liberated by this change and be important agents in negotiation of different religious views and practices. The article examines these issues and explores what possibilities or problems, empowerments or disempowerments, such may pose for women and for religion in general.

Journal Article.  0 words. 

Subjects: Religion ; Sociology of Religion

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