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The Meaning Of Conversion: Redirection Of Foundational Trust

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Chapter Summary

Conversion, especially in the religious sense, is a redirection of foundational trust. The author suggests that a focus on the redirecting, "process models" as they are usually termed, allows for theorizing in the middle range but not for a general theoretical framework. Focusing on the adjective foundational would lead one into philosophical rather than social theoretical concerns. Trust, however, is a human personal and social phenomenon in itself-though, when foundational, may be oriented to the transcendent. The chapter explores the kinds of religious phenomena that arise within the ten layers or realms of social reality that Gurvitch suggests, often finding the potential for engendering conversion within them. However, the aligning of events across layers seemed to be the most intriguing approach to conversion. It then examines two cases of conversion-one of them looking at a group situation and one of them the conversion of an individual.

Keywords: conversion; foundational trust; Georges Gurvitch; redirection; religious phenomena; social reality



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