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  • P-ISSN0023-3900
  • E-ISSN2733-9343

Exploring the Religious Marketplace for Korean Young Adults: Riddles of Secular Change and Innovation

Korea Journal, (P)0023-3900; (E)2733-9343
2017, v.57 no.4, pp.42-71
https://doi.org/10.25024/kj.2017.57.4.42

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Abstract

The majority of Korean young adults prefer to identify with no religion. In this social context, how can we explain the religious landscape for Korean young adults? In order to answer it, I focus on three mission universities (i.e., schools affiliated with religious denominations) in the Western area of Seoul, utilizing mixed methods, such as surveys and interviews. The findings are as follows. On an institutional level, campus ministry centers, facing crises, have adopted different innovative strategies. Chapels of Protestant universities have adopted networking strategies with secular and utilitarian values, such as providing career preparation and cultural shows. Catholic University recently installed a retreat program by adopting reflexive and spiritual strategies without religious hues, and it seems to have been quite successful with many students. On an individual level, statistical analyses on students show the tensions between religiosity and secularity: the latter seems to be of the greater influence than the former. However, Christian young adults show higher levels of social commitment than non-religious young adults. In sum, this study explores the religious marketplaces of Korean young adults, and explains the social implications of religious innovations created in response to social changes. However, there still remain many unresolved riddles about how secular change and religious innovation might function dynamically in religious marketplaces.

keywords
religious market theory innovation strategy young adults religious nones religiosity secularization unchurched spirituality

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