Packard and Sanders, “The Emerging Church as Corporatization’s Line of Flight”

Packard, Josh and George Sanders.  2013.  The Emerging Church as Corporatization’s Line of Flight.  Journal of Contemporary Religion 28(3): 437-455.

Abstract: In the United States and elsewhere, many religious organizations have adopted structures, mechanisms, and ideologies that can be understood through the concept of corporatization. More than a process, corporatization creates a schema through which social relationships are structured and particular values and beliefs are emphasized (particularly, the valorization of the consumer). The authors of the present article draw on Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari’s conceptualization of ‘lines of flight’ to illustrate how the Emerging Church, a new religious movement, has leveraged the discontinuities within corporatization. The participants of this movement do so in order to resist institutionalizing systems that rigidify and indoctrinate participants. The authors use ethnographic field methods to demonstrate how Emerging Church participants rely on the tropes of ‘messiness’ and ‘conversation’ to embrace a radical contingency, to foster dialogue, and to avoid adopting rigid, rationalized systems of meaning.