Calcul sau Credinta? Aplicatii ale teoriei alegerii rationale in studiul religiei

Mihnea Vasilescu

Abstract


The theory of rational choice is one of the most recent paradigms for the study of religion that strongly argues against previously dominant approaches such as the secularization thesis. The theory relies on more or less acceptable assumptions drawn from economic models of rational behavior, and offers interesting explanations or predictions supported by an impressive amount of data. The innovative approach introduced by the advocates or rational choice is a shift in focus from the demand side to the supply side of religion, emphasizing religious entre- preneurs and competing churches that act rationally in a religious market. In spite of the criticism directed to their assumption, the ambiguousness of the utility concept, the male centered perspective, or the total disregard of the influence of emotions when making decisions, the theory of rational choice remains one of the most seri- ous challenges to alternative theories of religious behaviour.

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