Explanations for the growth of NRMs 1

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  • Explanations for the growth of NRMs 1
    • Marginality
      • Weber - sects appeal to dispriviledged groups who are marginal to society.
      • They offer a solution to their lack of status by offering their members a theodicy of dispriviledge - a religious explanation of their suffering.
      • This may explain their misfortune as a test of faith to see if they keep their faith.
        • E.g. millenarian movements recruited from the marginalised poor.
      • Since 1960s - world-rejecting NRMs have recruited m/c white young people,
      • Wallis - it doesn't contradict Weber's view as these individuals have been marginalised to society; most were dropouts and drug users.
    • Relative deprivation
      • Someone who is quite privileged may still feel deprived compares to others e.g. m/c may feel spiritually deprived.
      • Wallis - they may turn to sects to for a sense of community.
      • Stark & Bainbridge - it's the relatively deprived who break away from churches to form sects as they safeguard the original message than churches who compromise beliefs to fit in society.
      • World-rejecting sects offer the deprived compensators of the rewards they are denied.
    • Social Change
      • Wilson - periods of rapid change undermine norms and values producing anomie, Those most affected may turn to sects.
        • E.g. Methodism during the industrial revolution, as it offered a sense of community, succeeding in recruiting the w/c.
      • Bruce - growth of sects and cults are a response to social changes involved in modernisation and secularisation.
      • Sees society as secularised and people are less attracted to traditional churches which demand too much commitment
      • As a result - they turn to cults, who are less demanding and require fewer sacrifices.
      • Criticisms
        • Merton - disagrees that NRMs emerge during a period of uncertainity.
          • Rapid growth of NRMs in America during the 50s - a period of stability and certainty.


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