The Social Dimensions of Sectarianism: Sects and New Religious Movements in Contemporary Society


This wide-ranging collection explores the complex relationships between religious sects and contemporary Western society and examines the controversial social, political, and religious issues that arise as sects seek to pursue a way of life at variance with that of other people. Wilson argues that sects, often subject to negative theological and moral judgements, can be understood only as social entities and as such require a scientifically neutral and unbiased approach to explore their emergence and persistence. He traces the growth and expansion of various movements--including the Unification Church, the Scientologists, Jehovah's Witnesses, and the Exclusive Brethren--relating them to their social context, and indicates the sections of society from which their support is likely to come.

Additional information

Includes content by:
  • With K. Dobbelaere
Publisher: Place of publication:
  • Oxford
Publication year:
  • 1992


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