Encyclopedia of Sciences and Religions

2013 Edition
| Editors: Anne L. C. Runehov, Lluis Oviedo


  • Jakub CigánEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4020-8265-8_3

Related Terms


Conversion is surely one the most intriguing and controversial issues in social sciences and humanities still resisting universal definition or theory. Already in 1908, George Jackson had clearly stated that conversion resists all “standardization” (Snow-Machalek 1984). Eighty years later, Thomas Robbins noted exactly the same by saying that conversion studies consist “of multiple confusions related to divergent premises, conceptual frameworks, nomenclature and behavioural referents have employed by researchers” (Robbins 1988). The current situation is not much different as there are no systematic programs of methodologically sophisticated research on conversion (Hood et al. 2009). One could say that conversion is simply a religious change, but in what sense religious, and what is the subject of the change? Conversion studies have no disciplinary autonomy. Conversion studies are represented by a bundle of various...

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. Flinn, F. K. (1999). “Conversion: up from evangelicalism or the pentecostal and charismatic experience.” In: Lamb, C., & Bryant, M. D. (Eds.). Religious conversion, contemporary practices and controversies. (pp. 51–72). London/New york:Cassell.Google Scholar
  2. Hood, R. W., Hill, P. C., & Spilka, B. (2009). The psychology of religion: An empirical approach. (207–208). New York: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  3. Rambo, L. (1993). Understanding religious conversion. New Haven: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  4. Rambo, L. (2003). “Anthropology and the study of Conversion”. In: Buckser, A., & Glacier, S. D. (Eds.). The Anthropology of Religious Conversion. (pp. 211–222). Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield.Google Scholar
  5. Robbins, T. (1988). Cults, converts and charisma: the sociology of new religious movements. (p. 64). London: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
  6. Snow, D. A., & Machalek, R. (1983). “The Convert as a Social Type”. In: Collins, R. (Ed.). Sociological Theory. (pp. 259–289). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.Google Scholar
  7. Snow, D. A., & Machalek, R. (1984). The sociology of conversion. Annual Review of Sociology, 10, 167–190.Google Scholar
  8. Warburg, M. (2008). Theorizing conversion: Can we use conversion accounts as sources to actual past processes? In E. Barker (Ed.), The centrality of religion in social life. Essays in honour of James A. Beckford (pp. 131–143). Aldershot/Burlington: Ashgate.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department for the Study of Religions, Faculty of ArtsMasaryk UniversityBrnoCzech Republic