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Press and Pulpit: The Growth of Religious Magazines in Antebellum America

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  • Goldstein, Adam
  • Haveman, Heather A.
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    Abstract

    Many controversies in the sociology of religion hinge on how different schools of thought view religious denominations. Are they akin to for-profit firms that compete for adherents, groups that forge community among geographically dispersed adherents, or coordinating bodies that distribute resources across subunits? These three perspectives not only reflect divergent assumptions about what religious organizations are, they also emphasize different causal mechanisms (competition, social integration, or coordination), and make arguments at different levels of analysis (local communities or national fields). These fundamental differences have made it hard to reach agreement about what religious organizations do to mobilize and retain members, how they distinguish themselves from or align themselves with other faiths, and how interactions within and between them drive their behavior. We assess the empirical implications of these three perspectives for a key resource religious organizations use to mobilize adherents and build distinctive identities: religious magazines. We test hypotheses derived from all three perspectives on original data covering virtually all religious denominations and magazines in antebellum America, a time of great religious ferment. With this analysis, we seek not only to heal schisms in the sociology of religion, but also to shed light on group dynamics more generally, by revealing how interactions among the diverse groups that constitute modern societies affect how groups mobilize members and build distinctive identities through group media.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Institute of Industrial Relations, UC Berkeley in its series Institute for Research on Labor and Employment, Working Paper Series with number qt8f39r0mv.

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    Date of creation: 08 Jun 2010
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    Handle: RePEc:cdl:indrel:qt8f39r0mv

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    Keywords: Social and Behavioral Sciences;

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    1. Corwin D. Edwards, 1955. "Conglomerate Bigness as a Source of Power," NBER Chapters, in: Business Concentration and Price Policy, pages 331-359 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Heckman, James J & Borjas, George J, 1980. "Does Unemployment Cause Future Unemployment? Definitions, Questions and Answers from a Continuous Time Model of Heterogeneity and State Dependence," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 47(187), pages 247-83, August.
    3. Steve Bond, 2002. "Dynamic panel data models: a guide to microdata methods and practice," CeMMAP working papers CWP09/02, Centre for Microdata Methods and Practice, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
    4. Kiviet, Jan F., 1995. "On bias, inconsistency, and efficiency of various estimators in dynamic panel data models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 68(1), pages 53-78, July.
    5. Giovanni S.F. Bruno, 2005. "Estimation and inference in dynamic unbalanced panel data models with a small number of individuals," KITeS Working Papers 165, KITeS, Centre for Knowledge, Internationalization and Technology Studies, Universita' Bocconi, Milano, Italy, revised Jun 2005.
    6. B. Douglas Bernheim & Michael D. Whinston, 1990. "Multimarket Contact and Collusive Behavior," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 21(1), pages 1-26, Spring.
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