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Denominationalism

The organizational form that dominant religious traditions assume in a pluralistic culture (Christiano et al., 2002:101). Denominationalism refers to the subdivision of a particular religion. A common example is Protestant Christianity in the United States. While each denomination ascribes to what are considered foundational tenets of the Christian faith, they maintain separate identities due to differences in what are considered peripheral issues. However, some denominations might consider that others have actually left the “true” Christian faith.

A central method for measuring denominationalism is RELTRAD. Steensland et al. proposed this typology in 2000, and it is currently the most widely accepted way of accounting for differences in religious tradition in random sample data.  Included within the typology are Evangelical, Mainline, and Black Protestants. These could be used to approximate differences believed to be due to denominationalism.  Another popular schematic was developed by Smith (1990), which is used on the General Social Survey.

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Citations:

Christiano, Kevin J., William H. Swatos, Jr., and Peter Kivisto. 2002. Sociology of Religion. Walnut Creek, CA: Altamira Press.

Mead, Sidney E. 1954. “Denominationalism: The Shape of Protestantism in America.” Church History 23: 291-320.

Neibuhr, H. Richard. 1929. The Social Sources of Denominationalism. New York: Holt.

Ruthven, Malise. 1988. The Divine Supermarket. London: Chatto and Windus.

Smith, Tom W.  1990.  “Classifying Protestant Denominations.”  Review of Religious Research 31(3):225-245.

Steensland, Brian, Jerry Z. Park, Mark D. Regnerus, Lynn D. Robinson, W. Bradford Wilcox, and Robert D. Woodberry. 2000. “The Measure of American Religion: Toward Improving the State of the Art.” Social Forces 79(1): 291-318.

The following are possible measures of Denominationalism that can be created using data from theARDA.com
Contributors:
In 2000, Steensland and colleagues proposed a new method for classifying religious tradition which was based on both doctrine and historical changes in religious groups.  The schematic divides religious traditions into black Protestant, Catholic, evangelical Protestant, Jewish, mainline Protestant, no religion, and "other" religion.  The "other" category functions as a catch-all to reduce missing cases in multivariate analyses with listwise deletion, but should not be substantively interpreted, as it contains a mixture of Eastern religious traditions, Mormons, and everything in between.  The classification scheme is created by using variables such as affiliation and denomination to classify respondents. View related items in the Measurement Wizard:
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