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Title page for ETD etd-03242008-094228

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Packard, Joshua Ryan
URN etd-03242008-094228
Title Organizational structure, religious belief, and resistance: the emerging church
Degree PhD
Department Sociology
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Dr. Richard Pitt Committee Chair
Dr. Jennifer Lena Committee Member
Dr. Karen Campbell Committee Member
Dr. Paul Speer Committee Member
  • Clergy
  • Professionalism
  • Legitimacy
  • Institutionalization
  • Organizations
  • Religion
  • Emerging Church
  • Resistance
  • Ritual
Date of Defense 2008-03-18
Availability unrestricted
This study combines insights from organizational studies and the sociology of religion in order to explain why some religious activities persevere and even prosper despite significant social forces compelling them to conform. Organizational theories suggest that as an organization grows or persists over time, its activities and structures will gradually come to resemble those of the dominant organizations in the field. This research is based on in-depth interviews and ethnographic data from organizations within the Emerging Church to examine how organizational structures, processes and ideologies might be configured to resist institutionalization and increase options for individual religious expression. I argue that it is possible to resist institutionalization by intentionally utilizing specific structures, organizational processes and developing ideologies which guard against the establishment of taken for granted patterns and routines. In the course of identifying these specific strategies and organizational mechanisms I work toward a theory of organizational resistance. The result is a more accurate understanding of the range of organizational possibilities as well as a better understanding of contemporary American Protestantism and religious activity in general.
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