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May 2, 2018 / C H Thompson

Religious market theory

  • A range of studies support S+B’s view that the demand for religion is influenced by the marketisation of religion providing the breadth and depth of quality and variety of religion on offer
  • the marketisation of religion is merely supply the religion people needs/demand (supply and demand led economics)
  • Hadden and Shupe argue that the growth of televangelism in America shows the level of religious participation is supply- led
  • The commercial funding of religious broadcasts opened up competition where evangelical churches thrived
  • Finke argues that the lifting of restrictions on Asian immigration into America in the 1960s allowed Asian religions to permanently set up in the USA.
  • This allowed Asian faiths to become another popular option for consumers in the religious market place.

Criticisms of market theory – evaluation

  • Stats show that diversity has been accompanied by religious decline in Europe and ‘murica.
  • It assumes that people are naturally religious and fails to explain why
  • It highlights the supply side of religion and consumer choice, and can be useful for understanding the growth of new religions
  • Bruce argues that S+B misinterpret the secularisation theory as the theory doesn’t claim there is a ‘golden age’ of religion.
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