Comprehending Cults: The Sociology of New Religious Movements / Edition 2

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Overview

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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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195420098
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication date: 1/25/2006
  • Edition description: REV
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 272
  • Sales rank: 1,235,122
  • Product dimensions: 9.00 (w) x 5.90 (h) x 0.80 (d)

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

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