Sects, Cults and New Religions

Edited by Carole M. Cusack, Danielle Kirby

© 2014 – Routledge

1,584 pages

Purchasing Options:
Hardback: 9780415320290
pub: 2013-10-30
US Dollars$1105.00

About the Book

New Religious Movements (NRMs) came into being as a distinct subfield of academic study in the 1970s in response to the explosion of non-traditional religions that took place in the waning years of the Sixties counterculture. (The designation ‘New Religion’ is a direct translation of a Japanese term coined for the many new religions that emerged in the wake of the Second World War, and was adopted by Western scholars in the late Sixties/early Seventies in preference to the pejorative term ‘cult’.) These movements, and those termed ‘sects’ and ‘cults’, initially attracted the attention of American and European sociologists of religion because of the controversy that arose in response to their expansion.

Religious Studies, which at the time was still in the process of establishing itself as a legitimate discipline distinct from Theology and traditional Biblical Studies, was only too happy to leave NRMs to Sociology. This situation gradually changed, however, so that at present at least as many scholars of NRMs come from Religious Studies backgrounds as come from the social sciences.

The collection consists of four volumes which together provide a one-stop source for crucial information on—and theoretical/methodological approaches to—contemporary New Religions. The set brings together thinking on a wide variety of themes associated with NRMs (e.g. apocalypticism, typologies, conversion, gender) and major works on the NRMs that have attracted the most scholarly attention (e.g. the ‘Moonies’, The Family International, Osho Rajneesh). Some influential ‘anti-cult’ articles (normally not considered part of mainstream scholarship) have also been included as well.

Sects, Cults, and New Religions is fully indexed and includes a comprehensive introduction, newly written by the editor, and is destined to be valued as a vital research resource.

Table of Contents

Volume I: Emergence

1. Jamie Hubbard, ‘Embarrassing Superstition, Doctrine, and the Study of New Religious Movements’, Journal of the American Academy of Religion, 1998, 66, 1, 59–92.

2. T. Robbins and Phillip C. Lucas, ‘From "Cults" to New Religions Movements: Coherence, Definition, and Conceptual Framing in the Study of New Religious Movements’, in James A. Beckford and N. J. Demerath III (eds.), The Sage Handbook of the Sociology of Religion (Sage, 2007), pp. 227–47.

3. Anthony F. C. Wallace, ‘Revitalization Movements’, American Anthropologist, 1956, 58, 264–81.

4. Colin Campbell, ‘The Cult, the Cultic Milieu and Secularization’, A Sociological Yearbook of Religion in Britain 5 (1972), pp. 119–36.

5. Rodney Stark and William Sims Bainbridge, ‘Cult Formation: Three Compatible Models’, Sociological Analysis, 1979, 44, 4, 283–95.

6. Alan L. Berger, ‘Hasidism and Moonism: Charisma in the Counterculture’, Sociological Analysis, 1981, 41, 4, 375–90.

7. Doyle Paul Johnson, ‘Dilemmas of Charismatic Leadership: The Case of the People’s Temple’, Sociological Analysis, 1979, 40, 4, 315–23.

8. Denis MacEoin, ‘From Babism to Baha’ism: Problems of Militancy, Quietism, and Conflation in the Construction of a Religion’, Religion, 1983, 13, 219–55.

9. Erica Baffelli and Ian Reader, ‘Competing for the Apocalypse: Religious Rivalry and Millennial Transformations in a Japanese New Religion’, International Journal for the Study of New Religions, 2011, 2, 1, 5–28.

10. H. Byron Earhart, ‘Toward a Theory of the Formation of the Japanese New Religions: A Case Study of Gedatsu-Kai’, History of Religions, 1980, 20, 1–2, 175–97.

11. Carole M. Cusack, ‘The Church of All Worlds: Science Fiction, Environmentalism and a Holistic Pagan Vision’, Invented Religions: Imagination, Fiction and Faith (Ashgate, 2010), pp. 53–82.

12. Mark W. Muesse, ‘"Religious Studies and Heaven’s Gate": Making the Strange Familiar and the Familiar Strange’, in George D. Chryssides (ed.), Heaven’s Gate: Postmodernity and Popular Culture in a Suicide Group (Ashgate, 2011), pp. 53–6.

13. Eugene V. Gallagher, ‘The Persistence of the Millennium: Branch Davidian Expectations of the End After Waco’, Nova Religio, 2000, 3, 2, 303–19.

14. Herbert Berg, ‘Mythmaking in the African-American Muslim Context: The Moorish Science Temple, the Nation of Islam, and the American Society of Muslims’, Journal of the American Academy of Religion, 2005, 73, 3, 685–703.

15. Cynthia Eller, ‘Relativizing the Patriarchy: The Sacred History of the Feminist Spirituality Movement’, History of Religions, 1991, 30, 3, 279–95.

16. Colin Campbell, ‘The Easternisation of the West’, in Bryan Wilson and Jamie Cresswell (eds.), New Religious Movements: Challenge and Response (Routledge, 1999), pp. 35–48.

17. Mark Sedgwick, ‘Neo-Sufism’, in Olav Hammer and Mikael Rothstein (eds.), Cambridge Companion to New Religious Movements (Cambridge University Press, 2012), pp. 198–214.

18. R. H. Seager, ‘Pluralism and the American Mainstream: The View from the World’s Parliament of Religions’, Harvard Theological Review, 1989, 82, 3, 301–24.

Volume II: Structures

19. Lorne L. Dawson, ‘Who Joins New Religions and Why: Twenty Years of Research and What Have We Learned?’, in Dawson (ed.), Cults and New Religions: A Reader (Blackwell, 2003), pp. 116–30.

20. John Lofland and Normon Skonovd, ‘Conversion Motifs’, Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 1981, 20, 4, 373–85.

21. Eugene V. Gallagher, ‘A Religion Without Converts: Becoming a Neo-Pagan’, Journal of the American Academy of Religion, 1994, 62, 3, 851–67.

22. Rodney Stark, ‘Why Religious Movements Succeed or Fail: A Revised General Model’, Journal of Contemporary Religion, 1996, 11, 133–46.

23. Mikael Rothstein, ‘Hagiography and Text in the Aetherius Society: Aspects of The Social Construction of A Religious Leader’, in Rothstein and Reender Kranenborg (eds.), New Religions in a Postmodern World (Aarhus University Press, 2003), pp. 165–93.

24. George D. Chryssides, ‘How Prophecy Succeeds: The Jehovah’s Witnesses and Prophetic Expectation’, International Journal for the Study of New Religions, 2010, 1, 1, 27–48.

25. Alemseghed Kebede, ‘Decentered Movements: The Case of the Structural and Preceptual Versatility of the Rastafari’, Sociological Spectrum, 21, 2, 175–205.

26. Ray Kerkhove, ‘Unstructured Networking in a Charisma-based New Religious Movement: The "Baba Lovers"’, Australian Religion Studies Review, 2007, 20, 2, 159–74.

27. Larry D. Shinn, ‘Who Gets to Define Religion? The Conversion/Brainwashing Controversy’, Religion Studies Review, 1993, 19, 3, 195–207.

28. Colin Campbell, ‘The Secret Religion of the Educated Classes’, Sociological Analysis, 1978, 39, 2, 146–56.

29. Liselotte Frisk, ‘The Satsang Network: A Growing Post-Osho Phenomenon’, Nova Religio, 2002, 6, 1, 64–85.

30. Jean-Francois Mayer, ‘Our Terrestrial Journey is Coming to an End: The Last Voyage of the Solar Temple’, Nova Religio, 1999, 2, 2, 172–96.

31. James R. Lewis, ‘Fit For the Devil: Towards an Understanding of "Conversion" to Satanism’, International Journal for the Study of New Religions, 2010, 1, 1, 117–38.

32. Olav Hammer, ‘New Age and the Discursive Construction of Community’, Journal of Alternative Spiritualities and New Age Studies, 2005, 1, 1, 111–28.

33. R. Wallis, ‘Three Types of New Religious Movement’, in Lorne L. Dawson (ed.), Cults and New Religions: A Reader (Blackwell, 2003), pp. 36–58.

34. E. T. Ruben, ‘Disaffiliation Among Scientologists: A Sociological Study of Post-Apostasy Behaviour and Attitudes’, International Journal for the Study of New Religions, 2, 2, 201–24.

35. M. De Witte, ‘Fans and Followers: Marketing Charisma, Making Religious Celebrity in Ghana’, Australian Religion Studies Review, 2011, 24, 3, 231–53.

Volume III: Contexts

36. N. J. Demerath III, ‘Secularization and Sacralization Deconstructed and Reconstructed’, in James A. Beckford and Demerath III (eds.), Sage Handbook of the Sociology of Religion (Sage, 2007), pp. 57–80.

37. J. Gordon Melton, ‘Perspective: Towards a Definition of New Religion’, Nova Religio, 2004, 8, 1, 73–87.

38. T. Robbins, ‘New Religions and Alternative Religions’, Nova Religio, 2005, 8, 3, 104–11.

39. E. Barker, ‘But is it a Genuine Religion?’, in A. L. Griel and T. Robbins (eds.), Between Sacred and Secular: Research and Theory on Quasi-Religion (JAI Press, 1994), pp. 97–111.

40. Christopher Helland, ‘Online Religion as Lived Religion: Methodological Issues in the Study of Religious Participation on the Internet’, Heidelberg Journal of Religions on the Internet, 2005, 1, 1.

41. James A. Beckford, ‘The Mass Media and New Religious Movements’, ISKCON Communications Journal, 1994, 2, 2.

42. John A. Saliba, ‘Religious Dimensions of UFO Phenomena’, in James R. Lewis (ed.), The Gods Have Landed (SUNY Press, 1995), pp. 15–64.

43. Daniel Bell, ‘The Return of the Sacred: the Argument about the Future of Religion’, Zygon, 1978, 13, 3, 187–208.

44. Angela A. Aidala, ‘Social Change, Gender Roles, and New Religious Movements’, Sociological Analysis, 1985, 46, 3, 287–314.

45. Yves Lambert, ‘Religion in Modernity as a New Axial Age: Secularization or New Religious Forms’, Sociology of Religion, 1999, 60, 3, 303–33.

46. Antoine Faivre and Karen-Claire Voss, ‘Western Esotericism and the Science of Religions’, Numen, 1995, 42, 1, 48–77.

47. Christopher Partridge, ‘Alternative Spiritualities, New Religions, and the Reenchantment of the West’, in James R. Lewis (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of New Religious Movements (OUP, 2004), pp. 39–67.

48. Danielle Kirby, ‘From Pulp Fiction to Revealed Text: A Study of the Role of the Text in the Otherkin Community’, in Christopher Deacy and Elisabeth Arweck (eds.), Exploring Religion and the Sacred in a Media Age (Ashgate, 2009), pp. 141–54.

49. Hugh B. Urban, ‘Fair Game: Secrecy, Security, and the Church of Scientology in Cold War America’, Journal of the American Academy of Religion, 2006, 74, 356–89.

50. Bryan Wilson, ‘Secularization: the Inherited Model’, in Philip E. Hammond (ed.), The Sacred in a Secular Age (University of California Press, 1985), pp. 9–20.

51. Wouter Hanegraaff, ‘"And End History. And Go to the Stars": Terence McKenna and 2012’, in Carole M. Cusack and Christopher Hartney (eds.), Religion and Retributive Logic: Essays in Honour of Professor Garry W. Trompf (Brill, 2010), pp. 291–312.

52. Ronald C. Keith and Zhiqiu Lin, ‘The "Falun Gong Problem": Politics and the Struggle for the Rule of Law in China’, The China Quarterly, 2003, 623–42.

53. Marat S. Shterin, ‘New Religious Movements in Changing Russia’, in Olav Hammer and Mikael Rothstein (eds.), Cambridge Companion to New Religious Movements (Cambridge University Press, 2012), pp. 286–302.

Volume IV: Relations

54. Amanda van Eck Duymaer van Twist, ‘Children in New Religions: Contested Duties of Care’, International Journal for the Study of New Religions, 2010, 1, 2, 183–206.

55. Kathinka Frøystad, ‘Roping Outsiders In: Invoking Science in Contemporary Spiritual Movements in India’, Nova Religio, 2011, 14, 4, 77–98.

56. Janet L. Jacobs, ‘Gender and Power in New Religious Movements: A Feminist Discourse on the Scientific Study of Religion’, Religion, 1991, 21, 4, 345–56.

57. Meredith B. McGuire, ‘Health and Healing in New Religious Movements’, in David G. Bromley and Jeffery K. Hadden (eds.), Religion and the Social Order: The Handbook of Cults and Sects in America, Vol. 3 (1993), pp. 139–55.

58. Sanja Nilsson, ‘Rebooting the Family: Organizational Change Within The Family International’, International Journal for the Study of New Religions, 2011, 2, 2, 157–78.

59. Michael Barkun, ‘Racist Apocalypse: Millennialism on the Far Right’, American Studies, 1990, 31, 2, 121–40.

60. Ben Zeller, ‘Food Practices, Culture, and Social Dynamics in the Hare Krishna Movement’, in Carole M. Cusack and Alex Norman (eds.), Handbook of New Religions and Cultural Production (Brill, 2012), pp. 681–702.

61. James A. Beckford, ‘Some Questions About the Relationship Between Scholars and the New Religious Movements’, Sociological Analysis, 1983, 44, 3, 189–96.

62. Richard Wayne Lee, ‘Strained Bedfellows: Pagans, New Agers, and "Starchy Humanists" in Unitarian Universalism’, Sociology of Religion, 1995, 56, 4, 379–96.

63. Susan Jean Palmer, ‘Women in the Raelian Movement: New Religious Experiments in Gender and Authority’, in James R. Lewis (ed.), The Gods have Landed (SUNY Press, 1995), pp. 105–35.

64. Madsen, Michael, ‘The Sanctification of Mormonism’s Historical Geography’, Geographies of Religions and Belief Systems, 2006, 1, 1, 51–73.

65. Sheila S. Walker, ‘Everyday and Esoteric Reality in the Afro-Brazilian Candomble’, History of Religions, 1990, 30, 2, 103–28.

66. J. Robbins, ‘The Globalization of Pentecostal and Charismatic Christianity’, Annual Review of Anthropology, 2004, 33, 117–43.

67. A. I. Perez y Mena, ‘Cuban Santería, Haitian Vodun, Puerto Rican Spiritualism: A Multiculturalist Inquiry into Syncretism’, Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 1998, 37, 1, 15–27.

68. S. Hoover, ‘Media and the Imagination of Religion in Contemporary Global Culture’, European Journal of Cultural Studies, 14, 6, 610–25.

69. S. C. Urlich, ‘Evaluating the Charismatic Group Subud: Javanese Mysticism in the West’, Group Dynamics: Theory, Research, and Practice, 2005, 9, 3, 161–72.

70. P. C. Lucas, ‘Enfants Terribles: The Challenge of Sectarian Converts to Ethnic Orthodox Churches in the United States’, Nova Religio, 2003, 7, 2, 5–23.

About the Series

Critical Concepts in Sociology

The Routledge Critical Concepts in Sociology series provides concise, authoritative reprints of key articles in sociology, collecting the essential secondary literature on key subjects. Edited by acknowledged leaders in the field, each set puts the development of fundamental concepts into their historical context, and provides students and researchers with a clear snapshot of current thinking. Collections span a multitude of subject areas, including religion, multiculturalism and celebrity.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
RELIGION / General
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Sociology / General