Interaction Ritual Chains and Religious Participation


  • The author thanks Steve Pfaff, Becky Pettit, James Wellman, Anthony Gill, James Felak, Marion Goldman, Trey Causey, Katie Corcoran, and the three anonymous reviewers for their comments. However, all errors of fact and omission are those of the author.


This article explores congregational-level influences on religious participation by adding a distinctively sociological approach to the debate through the application of Collins’s interaction ritual chain theory—a reinterpretation and integration of Durkheim and Goffman—at a congregational level of analysis. Arguing that the congregational worship service can be understood as an interaction ritual, this article offers an initial exploration of the role of effective ritual in increasing religious participation rates. Using the National Congregation Study (1998) data set, the findings from the multiple regression analysis offer support for both interaction ritual chains and religious economies predictors on a congregational attendance ratio.