Understanding Religious-Organizational Marketization: The Case of the United States Mainline

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Past decades have witnessed an accelerating proliferation of managerial and market-associated discourses and imperatives across the traditional religious-organizational field. Based on theoretical perspectives on marketization, this article outlines a general analytical framework by which to approach, empirically investigate, and understand processes of organizational marketization as they unfold in contemporary religious-organizational settings. As illustrated by more recent developments among the Protestant mainline denominations in the United States, the article (1) provides a general sociological explanation for the primary reasons why processes of organizational marketization have been set in motion within the US mainline; (2) outlines the main ways and means by which such processes have tended to unfold; and (3) accounts for their main practical effects on current mainline organizational cultures and working routines.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of the American Academy of Religion
Publication statusPublished - 2023
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Mainline Churches
  • discourse
  • marketization of religion
  • religious organizations


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