Sects & Stats - Overturning the Conventional Wisdom about Cult Members - James R. Lewis

Sects & Stats - Overturning the Conventional Wisdom about Cult Members - James R. Lewis

2 Social Networks and Conversion

Sects & Stats - Overturning the Conventional Wisdom about Cult Members - James R. Lewis

James R. Lewis [+-]
Wuhan University
James R. Lewis is Professor of Philosophy in the School of Philosophy at Wuhan University. He is well-published in the field of new religious movements. His publications and edited volumes include The Oxford Handbook of New Religious Movements, Controversial New Religions (with Jesper Petersen), Scientology, Children of Jesus and Mary (with Nicholas Levine), and, most recently, Violence and New Religious Movements.

Description

One of the other standard generalizations about new religions is that people convert to NRMs primarily through preexisting social networks. In the second chapter, I examine data on a variety of new religions which demonstrate that social networks are not always the dominant point of first contact for new converts. Additionally, recruitment patterns change over time so that different factors become dominant at different points in a movement’s development. Two reasons why this variability has escaped the attention of most researchers is an unconscious tendency to assume, as I have already noted, that the sociological profiles of members of different NRMs are essentially similar, plus the fact that such groups are typically studied synchronically rather than diachronically.

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Citation

Lewis, James. 2 Social Networks and Conversion. Sects & Stats - Overturning the Conventional Wisdom about Cult Members. Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom. p. 31-45 Nov 2014. ISBN 9781781791080. https://www.equinoxpub.com/home/view-chapter/?id=24735. Date accessed: 11 Aug 2020 doi: 10.1558/equinox.24735. Nov 2014

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