Sri Lanka's Informal Religious Economy: Evangelical Competitiveness and Buddhist Hegemony in Perspective

Author: Woods, Orlando

Source: Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, Volume 51, Number 2, 1 June 2012 , pp. 203-219(17)

Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell

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Existing religious economy models maintain that as religious regulation increases, levels of interreligious competition decrease. But new understandings of the market dynamics of religious oligopolies necessitate new understandings of religious competitiveness. A relational model of competitiveness using the case of evangelical Christianity in Buddhist‐majority Sri Lanka is proposed. In Sri Lanka the informal religious economy is defined by competitiveness among evangelical Christian groups and, although not recognized by the state, is closely regulated. The focus in this article is on the scalar determinations of evangelical competitiveness, patterns of secrecy and subterfuge, the formation of strategic extra‐group networks that enable competitiveness, and outcomes of a relational model. Three insights are offered that can be used as a starting point for further work on religious oligopolies, informal economies, and relational understandings of religious competition.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Department of Geography, National University of Singapore

Publication date: June 1, 2012

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