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Comprehending Cults: The Sociology of New Religious Movements

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Comprehending Cults: The Sociology of New Religious Movements Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Long the focus of controversy, cults,--what sociologists prefer to call new religious movements--have been studied by scholars for years. Yet little of this information has made its way into public awareness. Comprehending Cults is a comprehensive and balanced overview which synthesizes and assesses the results of thirty years of research into new religious movements by historians, sociologists, and psychologists of religion. Organized in terms of seven of the most commonly asked questions about cults (Why did they emerge? Who joins them and why? Why do some become violent?) the book clarifies the issues at stake, seeking to replace prejudice and speculation with reliable insights into the nature of cult activity.

Comprehending Cults examines the history and theory of the development of new religious movements as well as the factors, both social and economic, which determine their success. The book explores particular issues and factions in new religious movements including discussions on Scientology and other initiatory groups; Hare Krishna and other Indian-based religious groups; new religious movements and violence; the Unification Church; coercive conversion controversy (deprogramming); the Satanism scare; women and religious movements; and the future of religion.

Written in an easy-to-read yet detailed manner, Comprehending Cults provides an excellent introduction to the study of new religious phenomena, one equally suited to general readers, students, and scholars.

Synopsis:

Comprehending Cults, Second Edition, provides a sociological interpretation of the phenomenon of new religious movements. While the author does not offer an apologia for cults--in either a religious or a sociological sense--he does attempt to replace suspicion and misinformation with a greater knowledge of the facts (as best we know them) and a measure of sympathetic understanding.

Completely revised and updated in this second edition, the book examines all aspects of cults, while striving to delineate the very real limits of our knowledge. In addition to dealing with the troublesome aspects of the subject, including issues of violence, sexuality, and brainwashing, the author also considers the possibility that new religious movements are a source of spiritual satisfaction to their members. Offering up-to-date social science research about contemporary religious cults, Comprehending Cults, Second Edition, is ideal for undergraduate sociology of religion and new religious movements courses.

Synopsis:

Comprehending Cults, Second Edition, provides a sociological interpretation of the phenomenon of new religious movements. While the author does not offer an apologia for cults--in either a religious or a sociological sense--he does attempt to replace suspicion and misinformation with a greater knowledge of the facts (as best we know them) and a measure of sympathetic understanding.

Completely revised and updated in this second edition, the book examines all aspects of cults, while striving to delineate the very real limits of our knowledge. In addition to dealing with the troublesome aspects of the subject, including issues of violence, sexuality, and brainwashing, the author also considers the possibility that new religious movements are a source of spiritual satisfaction to their members. Offering up-to-date social science research about contemporary religious cults, Comprehending Cults, Second Edition, is ideal for undergraduate sociology of religion and new religious movements courses.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements

1. Why Study New Religious Movements?

The Cults in Our Midst

The Hostility towards Cults

Responding to the Suspicions of the Public

Box 1: They Come in All Shapes and Sizes

2. What Are New Religious Movements?

Religion and Its Continuing Significance

Churches, Sects, and Cults

Box 2: How New Religious Movements Change with Success

3. Why Did New Religious Movements Emerge?

Asking the Right Question First

New Religious Movements as a Response to Cultural Change

New Religious Movements as an Expression of Cultural Continuity

Concluding Remarks

Box 3: Three Models of Cult Formation

4. Who Joins New Religious Movements and Why?

The Stereotypes

Getting Involved with New Religious Movements

The Social Attributes of Those Who Join

Some Reasons for Joining

Box 4: Why are American Converts to New Religious Movements Disproportionately Jewish?

5. Are Converts to New Religious Movements "Brainwashed"?

The Issue and Its Significance

The Case Against the Cults

The Case Against Brainwashing

Reformulating the Issues in the Brainwashing Debate

Box 5: The Active versus Passive Convert

6. Why Are New Religious Movements So Often Accused of Sexual Deviance?

Sexual Deviance and the 'Cults'

Gender Matters

Box 6: Child Abuse and the Social Control of New Religious Movements

7. Why Do Some New Religious Movements Become Violent?

Making Sense of the Seemingly Senseless

Apocalyptic Beliefs

Charismatic Leadership

Social Encapsulation

Concluding Remarks

Box 7: Surviving the Failure of Apocalyptic Prophecies

8. What is the Cultural Significance of New Religious Movements?

Our Skewed Perspective

Discerning a New Religious Consciousness

Modernism and the New Religious Movements

Post-modernism and the New Religious Movements

Concluding Remarks

Box 8: Factors Affecting the Success of New Religious Movements

Notes

Bibliography

Index

Product Details

ISBN:
9780195420098
Author:
Dawson, Lorne L.
Publisher:
Oxford University Press, USA
Author:
null, Lorne L.
Subject:
Sociology - General
Subject:
Cults
Subject:
Religion and sociology
Subject:
Sociology | Religion
Subject:
Religion and sociology -- United States.
Subject:
Cults -- United States.
Copyright:
Edition Number:
2
Series Volume:
The Revolt against M
Publication Date:
20060131
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
College/higher education:
Language:
English
Illustrations:
, line illus.
Pages:
272
Dimensions:
5.9 x 9 x 0.8 in 0.813 lb

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Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Sociology » General
History and Social Science » World History » General
Humanities » Philosophy » General
Religion » Christianity » Counterculture
Religion » Comparative Religion » General
Religion » Eastern Religions » Hinduism » General
Religion » Western Religions » Cults
Religion » World Religions » New Religious Movements

Comprehending Cults: The Sociology of New Religious Movements New Trade Paper
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Product details 272 pages Oxford University Press - English 9780195420098 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , Comprehending Cults, Second Edition, provides a sociological interpretation of the phenomenon of new religious movements. While the author does not offer an apologia for cults--in either a religious or a sociological sense--he does attempt to replace suspicion and misinformation with a greater knowledge of the facts (as best we know them) and a measure of sympathetic understanding.

Completely revised and updated in this second edition, the book examines all aspects of cults, while striving to delineate the very real limits of our knowledge. In addition to dealing with the troublesome aspects of the subject, including issues of violence, sexuality, and brainwashing, the author also considers the possibility that new religious movements are a source of spiritual satisfaction to their members. Offering up-to-date social science research about contemporary religious cults, Comprehending Cults, Second Edition, is ideal for undergraduate sociology of religion and new religious movements courses.

"Synopsis" by , Comprehending Cults, Second Edition, provides a sociological interpretation of the phenomenon of new religious movements. While the author does not offer an apologia for cults--in either a religious or a sociological sense--he does attempt to replace suspicion and misinformation with a greater knowledge of the facts (as best we know them) and a measure of sympathetic understanding.

Completely revised and updated in this second edition, the book examines all aspects of cults, while striving to delineate the very real limits of our knowledge. In addition to dealing with the troublesome aspects of the subject, including issues of violence, sexuality, and brainwashing, the author also considers the possibility that new religious movements are a source of spiritual satisfaction to their members. Offering up-to-date social science research about contemporary religious cults, Comprehending Cults, Second Edition, is ideal for undergraduate sociology of religion and new religious movements courses.

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