SOCIAL COUPLING AND DECOUPLING: PASTORS AS ENTREPRENEURS

ABSTRACT Neo-Pentecostal ministers, whose churches follow productive enterprise patterns, seem to be endowed with the ability to build new social relations-linked to the religious context-while concurrently moving away from previous links, especially those with family and friends. This coupling (the creation of and linkage to new bonds) and decoupling capacity (distancing oneself from past relationships) was first observed by Granovetter (2009) while investigating immigrant entrepreneurs. This article goes beyond the scope of his studies, where the displacement factor was ethnic-geographical, to analyze a new phenomenon of an ethical-religious nature. In order to do so, it introduces the cases of 16 pastors in the metropolitan region of Belo Horizonte, Brazil. Evidence is found of the importance of the coupling/decoupling phenomenon in the creation of new religious communities, which are widespread throughout the country. At the same time, this study makes new contributions to the field and opens up different lines of research.