THE VARIETY OF DECONVERSION EXPERIENCES: CONTOURS OF A CONCEPT IN RESPECT TO EMPIRICAL RESEARCH 1 Heinz Streib and Barbara Keller* ABSTRACT This article presents an outline of historical and situational arguments which suggest a focus on deconversion, an outline of conversion research and its consequences for deconversion, and a discussion of extant empir- ical research on deconversion. The discussion then focuses on the con- ceptualization of deconversion and compiles the features from which a comprehensive concept of deconversion may emerge. The core fea- tures of the deconversion concept which is suggested in this article are complemented by dimensions of diversity which also include a devel- opmental perspective (from the religious styles perspective). This has implications for future research. 1 Developments in Research on Conversion and Deconversion Conversion has been a prominent focus of theorizing and research in the psychology of religion from its early days on. Deconversion has not. Searching for ‘deconversion’ in electronic data bases results in a relatively small number of books, articles or dissertations. Various names which may be regarded as referring to the same core phe- nomenon, may also point to its complexity: apostasy, defection, disa ﬃ liation, falling from the faith; exit etc.
Archive for the Psychology of Religion – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 2004
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