Reasons for the growth of NRM

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  • Created by: KCharlish
  • Created on: 10-01-16 17:30


  • Troeltsch - sects tend to draw their members from the poor and the oppressed.
  • Weber - sects tend to arise in groups who are marginal in society, such groups may feel that they are disprivileged.
  • Sects offer a solution to this problem by offering their members a theodicy of disprivilege - a religious explanation for their suffering.
  • This may explain their suffering as a 'test of their faith' - for example, while holding out for the promise of rewards in the future for keeping the faith. 
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Relative deprivation

'the subjective sense of being deprived'

  • Although middle class people may be well off, they may feel that they are spiritually deprived, especially in todays materialistic and consumerist world.
  • Wallis argues that they may therefore turn to sects for a sense of community.
  • Stark and Bainbridge - it is the relatively deprived who break away from traditional churches to form sects.
  • World rejecting sects offer compensators that the deprived need for the rewards they are denied in this world.
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Social Change

  • Wilson argues that periods of rapid change disrupt and undermine established norms and values, producing anomie or normlessness.
  • In response to the uncertainty and insecurity that this creates, those who are most disrupted may turn to sects as a solution.
  • For example, the dislocation created during the industrial revolution in the late 18th and early 19th century led to the birth of methodism.
  • Bruce sees the growth of sects and cults today as a response to the changes involved in modernisation. 
  • People have now moved away from demanding sects and traditional churches and now prefer cults as they are less strict and require fewer sacrifices.
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