Research Cloud 6 Competitive Social Forms of Religion: A driving force in the History of Religion?
Following Max Weber's distinction between the 'church' (as an inclusive social form) and the 'sect' (as an exclusive social form in the sense of an ‚association of religiously fully qualified people‘), the Cloud deals (a) with the formation of various social forms of religion, their historical development and their competition, and (b) with the question of which 'techniques' various religious social forms develop in order to efficiently shape the way of life of their members, i.e. to establish socially shared expectation structures in ethical, moral and religious terms. In the light of neo-institutionalist theory, it seems necessary to discuss both the interplay and the desintegration of various religious social forms (such as 'church' and 'sect', but also 'movement' or 'network') and specific religious 'institutions' (in the sense of socially shared expectation structures or consensus assumptions regarding faith, ritual and way of life in general).
Discussions shall include the historical role of ritual confession as a pastoral ‚technique‘ of how to conduct people’s life, the special role of monasticism, and the social form of the 'church', which has been established as an organizational model standardized in contemporary European societies and as such has led to the formation of innovative social forms of religion in the increasingly plural religious field (such as 'mosque association', unknown in the Islamic world).