Becoming believers: Studying the conversion process from within

Zygon 46 (4):806-834 (2011)

Abstract

Abstract Employing an extended case method ethnography (Burawoy 1998), the researcher joined five new members forming a spiritualist's group under the leadership of an experienced advocate. Over a period of eighteen months, the researcher attended all the group's activities and events. Data were collected to reflexively interrogate the process theory of conversion proposed by Lewis Rambo (1993). The data revealed conversion to be a multifaceted and dynamic process of cognitive change, mediated by structural, and contextual forces. The results provide a reconceptualization of Rambo's theory, presenting a theoretical expansion of the model emphasizing its mechanisms of action. The paper details the composition of the “Interaction-Commitment” mechanism, operationalized within four submechanisms emanating from Rambo's roles, rituals, rhetoric, and relationships. This longitudinal study shows that most of the hard work toward conversion occurs before any formal interaction with a conversion advocate. Conversion operates most effectively under conditions of cognitive economy wherein the belief path follows a path of least cognitive expenditure

Download options

PhilArchive



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 72,856

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Analytics

Added to PP
2011-11-25

Downloads
84 (#141,902)

6 months
1 (#386,016)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Aaron Smith
Harvard University

Citations of this work

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Philosophical Conversion.Paul S. Macdonald - 1997 - Philosophy and Theology 10 (2):303-327.
A Study of Conversion.Lewis Wyatt Lang - 1931 - London: G. Allen & Unwin.
Phenomenology and Deconstruction.Robert Denoon Cumming - 1991 - University of Chicago Press.
Understanding Conversion.Karl Frederick Morrison - 1992 - University Press of Virginia.
A Psychological Study of Religious Conversion.Wilfrid Lawson Jones - 1937 - London: the Epworth Press (E. C. Barton).
Sartre the Other: Conflict, Conversion, Language the We.Gavin Rae - 2009 - Sartre Studies International 15 (2):54-77.
Dorothy Day's Christian Conversion.June O'Connor - 1990 - Journal of Religious Ethics 18 (1):159 - 180.
Religious Conversion, a Bio-Psychological Study.Sante De Sanctis - 1927 - New York: Harcourt, Brace & Company.