Interdisciplinary Journal of Research on ReligionInstitute for Studies of Relgion
IJRR :: 2005 Volume 1 :: Article 6
2005 Volume 1, Article 6
The Social and Symbolic Boundaries of Congregations: An Analysis of Website Links

Author: Christopher P. Scheitle (Pennsylvania State University)

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The role of social and symbolic boundaries has a long history in the sociology of religion. These concepts have taken on more importance with the proposition that religious boundaries are in a state of restructuring. I draw upon theory and research on organizations and religion to create hypotheses concerning the creation and structure of religious boundaries. Using a subsample from the National Congregations Study, I analyze the outgoing hyperlinks of 231 congregational websites as a measure of social and symbolic boundaries. The results show a relationship between theological conservatism and excluding other religious groups from a congregationís boundaries and including religious media, parachurch groups, and religious resources. Religious tradition predictors also produce significant variations in religious boundaries.

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