Christian Churches’ Responses to Marketization: Comparing Institutional and Non-denominational Discourse

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedingChapterScientificpeer-review

Abstract

Accelerating processes of marketization – understood as the permeation and proliferation of market exchange as a social and social-organizational principle – are having a notable impact on Christian churches worldwide. This chapter highlights the different ways in which the ideational and discursive dimensions of processes of marketization have come to
affect the present-day character and modus operandi of long-established institutional Christian Protestant churches on the one hand, and independent ‘non-denominational’ churches on the other hand. On an international level, the independent nondenominational Protestant field has increasingly become molded in accordance with market models and consumerist discourses, values, and sensibilities. Independent Evangelical, Charismatic, and Pentecostal congregations ranging from North America and Europe to the Global South have since long embraced the language of market-and consumer society, along with practices such as advertising, marketing, and branding as tools for proselytization and church expansion. For these types of churches, new marketized realities generally appear as the taken-for-granted, natural state of affairs. Indeed, these types of churches often view themselves as players in an extended marketplace of religious ideas and lifestyle choices. The situation with regards to long-established institutional Protestant ‘mainline’ churches in Europe and North America remains notably different. Following decades of continuing decline, most institutional Protestant churches are currently struggling to retain or regain their historical societal and cultural positions. Due to their high degrees of bureaucratization and historical embeddedness in national-statist structures, the impact of ongoing processes of marketization on these churches has mainly come in the form of mounting, both external and internal, pressures to adapt to new social organizational realities in the form of new public management, and new forms of ‘governance’-inspired church-state partnerships. Following these developments, these churches have increasingly adopted and internalized market- and new public management-associated discourse and organizational values as central elements in the construction of new church imaginaries.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRoutledge International Handbook of Religion in Global Society
EditorsJeyeel Cornelio, François Gauthier, Tuomas Martikainen, Linda Woodhead
PublisherRoutledge
ISBN (Print)1138182508
Publication statusPublished - 2020
MoE publication typeA3 Part of a book or another research book

Publication series

NameRoutledge International Handbooks
PublisherRoutledge

Keywords

  • religious organizations
  • Sociology of religion
  • discourse analysis

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