Cults and New Religious Movements: A Reader

Cults and New Religious Movements: A Reader

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What is a cult? Why do they emerge? Who joins them? And why do tragedies such as Waco and Jonestown occur? This reader brings together the voices of historians, sociologists, and psychologists of religion to address these key questions about new religious movements. * Looks at theoretical explanations for cults, why people join and what happens when they do. * Brings together the best work on cults by sociologists, historians, and psychologists of religion. * A broad--ranging, balanced and clearly organized collection of readings. * Includes coverage of topical issues, such as the a brainwashinga controversy, and cults in cyberspace. * Section introductions by the editor situate the nature, value, and relevance of the selected readings in context of current discussions.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 306 pages
  • 179 x 247 x 16mm | 610g
  • Wiley-Blackwell (an imprint of John Wiley & Sons Ltd)
  • Chicester, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 1405101814
  • 9781405101813
  • 1,417,195

Back cover copy

What is a cult? Why do they emerge? Who joins them? And why do tragedies such as Waco and Jonestown occur? This Reader brings together the voices of historians, sociologists, and psychologists of religion to address these key questions about new religious movements.


The volume opens with an introductory essay by the editor, and each section is prefaced by a brief essay outlining the issues at stake, the state of current discussion, and the nature, value, and relevance of the selected readings. The readings themselves are broad-ranging and include coverage of topical questions, such as the 'brainwashing' controversy, sexual deviance and gender issues, and cults in cyberspace.




This collection enables readers to gain a clear understanding of the phenomenon of new religious movements in modern culture and to replace prejudice and speculation with reliable insights into the nature of cult activity.
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Table of contents

Acknowledgements. Introduction: The Book and The Subject. 1. The Study of New Religious Movements:. Eileen Barker, The Scientific Study Of Religion? You Must Be Joking!. James A. Beckford, The Continuum Between "Cults" and "Normal" Religion. 2. The Nature of New Religious Movements:. Roy Wallis, Three Types of New Religious Movement. William Sins Bainbridge and Rodney Stark, Cult Formation: Three Compatible Models. 3. New Religious Movements in Historical and Social Context:. Philip Jenkins, False Prophets And Deluded Subjects: The Nineteenth Century. Robert Wuthnow, The New Spiritual Freedom. 4. Joining New Religious Movements:. Lorne L. Dawson, "Who Joins New Religious Movements And Why: Twenty Years Of Research And What Have We Learned?. Saul Levine, The Joiners. 5. The 'Brainwashing' Controversy:. Margaret Thales Singer, The Process Of Brainwashing, Psychological Coercion, And Thought Reform. James T. Richardson, A Critique Of 'Brainwashing' Claims About New Religious Movements. Thomas Robbins, Constructing Cultist 'Mind Control'. 6. Violence and New Religious Movements:. John R. Hall, The Apocalypse At Jonestown. Jean--Francois Mayer, "Our Terrestrial Journey is Coming to an End": The Last Voyage of the Solar Temple. 7. Sex and Gender Issues and New Religious Movements:. Elizabeth Puttick, Women In New Religious Movements. Susan J. Palmer, Women's 'Cocoon Work' In New Religious Movements: Sexual Experimentation And Feminine Rites Of Passage. 8. New Religious Movements and The Future: Rodney Stark, Why Religious Movements Succeed Or Fail: A Revised General Model. Lorne L. Dawson And Jenna Hennebry, New Religions And The Internet: Recruiting In A New Public.
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Review quote

"This is a superb collection which will effectively introduce some readers to the field of NRM studies, and which is indispensable for any course on alternative religions. The volume really represents some sort of a milestone and its publication may indicate that the scholarly study of NRMs has a arriveda ." Nova Religio "This is a valuable reader and one which deserves to become part of the landscape." Gerald Vinten, European Business School, London "The book is very useful for students, scholars of different disciplines, and lay readers to get an idea of the scientific response to publicly debated issues about new religions. Furthermore, with bibliographies at the end of each article, it also provides an excellent starting point for further study." Marburg Journal of Religion "The editor has collected a number of fine writings by leading authors, theorists and researchers in the field of NRMs. One find understandable and accessible essays by historians, sociologists and psychologists of religion and other scholars well known for their work on the subject and/or famous in their disciplines ... For readers interested in the phenomenon the book is very readable and can open up a new world -- a balanced world without prejudice." Journal of Empirical Theology
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About Lorne L. Dawson

Lorne L. Dawson is Chair of the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Waterloo, Ontario. He is the author of Comprehending Cults: The Sociology of New Religious Movements (1998) and, Reason, Freedom and Religion (1988), and the editor of Cults in Context (1996).
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Rating details

30 ratings
3.9 out of 5 stars
5 20% (6)
4 53% (16)
3 23% (7)
2 3% (1)
1 0% (0)
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