Sociology and Anthropology
This article explores the organizational complexities that occur when religions attempt to operate globally. Based on the author’s research on one of the new Japanese religions – Sekai Kyusei-kyo –it focuses on two aspects of transnational religious coordination. First, it shows how culture shapes religions’ reception in each locality. Second, it shows the superiority of heterarchical over hierarchical organization: like successful transnational corporations, heterarchical religions move decision-making to the periphery, leaving the center with the task of normative integration. Local culture can, however, trump even such organizational flexibility. The article explores the theoretical implications of this for market-oriented sociologies of religion.
International Journal of Politics, Culture, and Society