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Case Studies, the Key Concept and Converts’ Background Experiences

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Chapter Summary

The case studies chosen in this chapter highlight contrasts, and differ regarding many factors such as biographical background experiences, network influence, converts' reflexivity, the degree to which a conversion narrative is an "account" or "cultural tool", and life course agency. The chapter first illustrates the life story and process of conversion in the subjects' own words, followed by a section in which they are contrasted with the findings of the structural-substantial analysis. Some of the case studies presented are: Todd Kruger, John Summer (Conversion to Christianity), Peter Leafland (Becoming Unitarian Universalist), Carlo Johnson (Conversion to the Jehovah's Witnesses), Carola Kramer (Conversion to Islam). The chapter focuses on focusing on background experiences, structural powers over which individuals do not have much control, and which have an influence on their biography. It also introduces the key concept of conversion.

Keywords: biographical background experiences; case studies; structural powers; structural-substantial analysis



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