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Durham University

Institute of Advanced Study

Past Events

Professor David Stark - Spirituality as Everyday Consumption: Megachurches as Shopping Malls in Contemporary America

25th October 2007, 17:15, Lecture Room 21, Palace Green

Commercial activity in places of worship has a long history. Churches in 16th Century England were once also places of trade, and Jesus cast out usurers from the Temple in Jersulem. This study examines the reverse process where churches are built to resemble shopping malls. The research setting is Oklahoma City, known for innovations in commerce and televangelism, where today, as elsewhere in North and South America, non-denominational evangelicalism is the fastest growing segment of religious affiliation. The study thus returns, a century later, to a site where Max Weber conducted field research among Protestant sects for his study of the relationship between the realms of religion and the economy.

Professor Stark is Arthur Lehman Professor of Sociology and International Affairs at Columbia University where he directs the Center on Organizational Innovation. He is a leading economic sociologist studying organizational innovation in a broad range of research settings. He has carried out field research in Hungarian factories before and after 1989, in new media startups in Manhattan before and after the crash, and in a World Financial Center trading room before and after the attack on September 11th.


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