Mark Chaves

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

Tropman, John E. “The Catholic Ethic in American Society: An Exploration of Values.” Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, vol. 27, 1998, pp. 95–98.

Hadaway, C. K., et al. “Overreporting Church Attendance in America: Evidence That Demands the Same Verdict.” American Sociological Review, vol. 63, no. 1, AMER SOCIOLOGICAL ASSOC, 1998, pp. 122–30.

Chaves, M. “The symbolic significance of women's ordination.” Journal of Religion, vol. 77, no. 1, Jan. 1997, pp. 87–114. Scopus, doi:10.1086/489917. Full Text

Chaves, M. “Secularization: A Luhmannian Reflection.” Soziale Systeme, vol. 3, no. 2, 1997, pp. 439–49.

Chaves, M., and J. Cavendish. “Recent changes in women's ordination conflicts: The effect of a social movement on intraorganizational controversy.” Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, vol. 36, no. 4, Jan. 1997, pp. 574–84. Scopus, doi:10.2307/1387691. Full Text

Chaves, M. “Ordaining women: The diffusion of an organizational innovation.” American Journal of Sociology, vol. 101, no. 4, Jan. 1996, pp. 840–73. Scopus, doi:10.1086/230782. Full Text

Chaves, M., and J. D. Montgomery. “Rationality and the framing of religious choices.” Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, vol. 35, no. 2, Jan. 1996, pp. 128–44. Scopus, doi:10.2307/1387080. Full Text

Kniss, F., and M. Chaves. “Analyzing Intradenominational Conflict: New Directions.” Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, vol. 34, no. 2, SOC SCIENTIFIC STUDY RELIGION, 1995, pp. 172–85.

Chaves, M. “On the Rational Choice Approach to Religion.” Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, vol. 34, no. 1, SOC SCIENTIFIC STUDY RELIGION, 1995, pp. 98–104.

Chaves, M., et al. “State Regulation of Religion and Muslim Religious Vitality in the Industrialized West.” The Journal of Politics, vol. 56, no. 4, Jan. 1994, pp. 1087–97. Scopus, doi:10.2307/2132075. Full Text