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The Effects of Professional Training: The Social and Religious Capital Acquired in Seminaries

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Debates over seminary education have been at the heart of some of the most heated denominational battles and schisms, often focusing on doctrines being taught at the seminaries. This research moves beyond the debates over specific teachings and explains how seminaries cultivate distinctive social capital (e.g., resources secured through social networks) and religious capital (e.g., mastery of and attachment to a specific religious culture). Using historical and contemporary examples, we illustrate how seminaries provide clergy with social and religious capital that is distinctive from that of the laity. Finally, using Brunette-Hill’s 1994 survey of Milwaukee clergy and the Educational Testing Service’s 1996 survey of exiting seminarians, we test two propositions on seminary training and religious capital.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Department of Sociology, The Pennsylvania State University 2: Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Purdue University

Publication date: March 1, 2002

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