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

Publication Date: December 2006

Publisher: Association for the Sociology of Religion

Author(s): Benjamin Phillips; Shaul Kelner

Research Area: Culture and religion; Social conditions

Keywords: Religion; Ethnicity; Methodology

Type: Report

Coverage: United States


Drawing on 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 refomulated 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 afiliation at a time.

In Sociology of Religion 67:4, Spring 2006