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Salvation Goods and Religious Markets

Theory and Applications

Jörg Stolz

The idea that religion has to succeed in a «market», selling «salvation goods», has proved to be extremely attractive to scholars in sociology and the study of religion. Max Weber used the term «salvation good» to compare different religious traditions. Pierre Bourdieu employed the term in order to analyze «religious economy». And recently, an American group of researchers advocating «rational choice of religion» put the theme at the forefront of current debates.
This book – the fruit of an International Congress in Lausanne in April 2005 – brings together leading specialists in the fields of sociology and the study of religion who discuss the terms «salvation goods» (or religious goods) and «religious market». The authors test the applicability of these concepts by using specific examples and they either deliberately advocate or criticize Weberian, Bourdieusian or rational-choice perspectives.
Contents: Jörg Stolz: Introduction: A New Look at the Question of Salvation Goods and Religious Markets – Peter-Ulrich Merz-Benz: Salvation Goods and Culture Goods: An Interpretation of Max Weber – Franz Schultheis: Salvation Goods and Domination: Pierre Bourdieu’s Sociology of the Religious Field – Jörg Stolz: Salvation Goods and Religious Markets: Integrating Rational Choice and Weberian Perspectives – Steve Bruce: The Social Limits on Religious Markets – Pierre-Yves Brandt: Integration or Individuation: Are the Salvation Goods Promised by First-Century Christian Preaching Still Attractive? – Silvia Mancini: Salvation Goods and the Canonization Logic: On Two Popular Cults of Southern Italy – Enzo Pace: Salvation Goods, the Gift Economy and Charismatic Concern – Jean-Pierre Bastian: The New Religious Economy of Latin America – Terry Rey: Worthiness as Spiritual Capital: Theorizing Little Haiti’s Religious Market – Véronique Altglas: Indian Gurus and the Quest for Self-perfection Among the Educated Middle-Classes – Maya Burger: What is the Price of Salvation? The Exchange of Salvation Goods between India and the West – Jean-François Mayer: Salvation Goods and the Religious Market in the Cultic Milieu.