Cults and New Religious Movements: A Reader

Edition: 1st
Format: Paperback
Pub. Date: 2003-06-02
Publisher(s): Wiley-Blackwell
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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. 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 ls"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.

Author Biography

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).

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vii
Introduction: The Book and the Subject 1(4)
I The Study of New Religious Movements 5(28)
1 The Scientific Study of Religion? You Must Be Joking!
Eileen Barker
2 The Continuum Between "Cults" and "Normal" Religion
James A. Beckford
II The Nature of New Religious Movements 33(38)
3 Three Types of New Religious Movement
Roy Wallis
4 Cult Formation: Three Compatible Models
William Sims Bainbridge and Rodney Stark
III New Religious Movements in Historical and Social Context 71(42)
5 False Prophets and Deluded Subjects: The Nineteenth Century
Philip Jenkins
6 The New Spiritual Freedom
Robert Wuthnow
IV Joining New Religious Movements 113(30)
7 Who Joins New Religious Movements and Why: Twenty Years of Research and What Have We Learned?
Lorne L. Dawson
8 The Joiners
Saul Levine
V The "Brainwashing" Controversy 143(38)
9 The Process of Brainwashing, Psychological Coercion, and Thought Reform
Margaret Thaler Singer
10 A Critique of "Brainwashing" Claims About New Religious Movements
James T. Richardson
11 Constructing Cultist "Mind Control"
Thomas Robbins
VI Violence and New Religious Movements 181(46)
12 The Apocalypse at Jonestown
John R. Hall
13 "Our Terrestrial Journey is Coming to an End": The Last Voyage of the Solar Temple
Jean-Fran├žois Mayer
VII Sex and Gender Issues and New Religious Movements 227(30)
14 Women in New Religious Movements
Elizabeth Puttick
15 Women's "Cocoon Work" in New Religious Movements: Sexual Experimentation and Feminine Rites of Passage
Susan J. Palmer
VIII New Religious Movements and the Future 257(35)
16 Why Religious Movements Succeed or Fail: A Revised General Model
Rodney Stark
17 New Religions and the Internet: Recruiting in a New Public Space
Lorne L. Dawson and Jenna Hennebry
Index 292

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