This introductory chapter maps out the methodologies for the study employed in the rest of the book, emphasizing the agency of religious professionals in reconceptualizing clericalism in terms of the dynamics of “who,” “what,” and “how.” This emphasis allows us to extend established scholarly approaches to understanding the clergy and the clerical identity by forcing us to reconsider some methodological, definitional, and theoretical dilemmas posed by narrow preconceptions about who the clergy are, what matters along the way to that identity, and what we can expect to see from those who claim it. Interestingly, the conversations with the respondents about their clerical identities reproduced the interviews many had had with their pastors at the beginning of their formal pursuit of the identity.
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