Posted by: aboutalbion | October 11, 2012

Closed or open

The next stage of Rodney Stark’s sociological account of the birth of Christianity discusses closed and open social networks.

Stark has evidenced that conversions to new religious movements are optimised when growth is “through a structure of direct and intimate interpersonal attachments”. (p20)

However, he now notes that sustained growth requires one more feature.  “Successful [new religious] movements discover techniques for remaining open networks, able to reach out and into new adjacent social networks.” (p20)

“Thus if we are to better understand and explain the rise of Christianity, we must discover how the early Christians maintained open networks – for it would seem certain that they did.” (p21)

[Stark, Rodney (1997) The Rise of Christianity.  New York: HarperOne.]

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