Mark Chaves

Professor of Sociology

External Address: 
Soc-psych Bldg, Rm 348, Box_90088, Durham, NC 27708
(919) 660-5783


Professor Chaves specializes in the sociology of religion. Most of his research is on the social organization of religion in the United States. Among other projects, he directs the National Congregations Study (NCS), a wide-ranging survey of a nationally representative sample of religious congregations conducted in 1998, 2006-07, and 2012. NCS results have helped us to better understand many aspects of congregational life in the United States. Professor Chaves is the author of American Religion: Contemporary Trends (Princeton, 2011),  Congregations in America (Harvard, 2004), Ordaining Women: Culture and Conflict in Religious Organizations (Harvard, 1997), and many articles.

Education & Training

  • Ph.D., Harvard University 1991

  • M.Div., Harvard University 1985

Chaves, M. "The Symbolic Significance of Women's Ordination." The Journal of Religion 77.1 (1997): 87-114. Full Text

Chaves, M, and Chaves Mark, . "Secularization: A Luhmannian ReflectionSecularization: A Luhmannian Reflection." Soziale Systeme 3 (1997): 437-. (Academic Article)

Chaves, M, and Cavendish, J. "Recent Changes in Women's Ordination Conflicts: The Effect of a Social Movement on Intraorganizational Controversy." Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 36.4 (1997): 574-584.

Chaves, M. "Ordaining Women: The Diffusion of an Organizational Innovation." The American Journal of Sociology 101.4 (1996): 840-873. Full Text

Chaves, M, and Montgomery, JD. "Rationality and the Framing of Religious Choices." Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 35.2 (1996): 128-144.

Kniss, F, and Chaves, M. "Analyzing Intradenominational Conflict: New Directions." Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 34.2 (1995): 172-185.

Chaves, M. "On the Rational Choice Approach to Religion." Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 34.1 (1995): 98-104.

Chaves, MA. "Review of Beyond Establishment: Protestant Identity in a Post-Protestant Age." Ed. J Carroll and WC Roof. Contemporary Sociology 23 (1994): 438-439. (Review)

Chaves, M, and Cavendish, JC. "More Evidence on U.S. Catholic Church Attendance." Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 33.4 (1994): 376-381.

Chaves, M, Schraeder, PJ, and Sprindys, M. "State Regulation of Religion and Muslim Religious Vitality in the Industrialized West." The Journal of Politics 56.4 (1994): 1087-1097. Full Text