Magic and the Millennium: A Sociological Study of Religious Movements of Protest among Tribal and Third-World Peoples

By Bryan R. Wilson | Go to book overview

Acknowledgements

To put institutions before individuals runs very much counter to the principles which for years have informed my practice in social relations, but in writing this book my obligations to four institutions are such that, even though institutional generosity was always mediated by individuals, it is the institutions themselves to which I owe the first (and last) word.

The Harkness Foundation elected me in 1957 to a Commonwealth Fund Fellowship, which allowed me to spend the next academic year reading, thinking, and travelling in the United States, and it was at that time that my interests turned to the subject treated in this book. In 1966, I was elected a Fellow of the American Council of Learned Societies and returned to the United States to spend a year, much of which was devoted to learning about the religious movements that have arisen at various times among the North American Indians. To those two foundations this book owes a great deal: the awards they made to me were of the greatest importance to my development as a sociologist, and perhaps more important was what their trust meant to me. I hope that those who administer these benefactions will feel that in the publication of this study their trust was in some small measure justified.

To hold both of these fellowships at the University of California at Berkeley was, of course, of my own choosing. The excellence of the university's facilities, and the stimulation that I derived from the sociologists there during my first visit made it clear that this was where I should spend the second spell of research time in America, rather than at any other centre of learning. On my second visit, the Survey Research Center at Berkeley offered me research facilities that exceeded my needs, and provided me with generous secretarial assistance which was of the greatest value, both directly to my research and also in allowing me to conduct the correspondence of academic business quickly and efficiently. It was a luxury to which, coming from the University of Oxford, which had never provided me with secretarial help for any purpose, I was quite unaccustomed, and the value of which I soon learned to appreciate.

The individuals to whom I should like to express gratitude are mainly those who were at the University of California during the period of my

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