New Religious Movements a Perspective for Understanding Society

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Nineteen papers that treat new religious movements as "strategic sites for understanding societal patterns" (Religious Studies Review). The focus is on five topics: comparative perspectives, historical patterns, societal responses to cultural imports, what new religious movements signify about a society, and social perceptions of new religious movements. Contains a valuable glossary.


"The articles display unusual thematic unity . . . . Barker's excellent overview exposes methodological and theoretical flaws of previous work and suggests corrective measures . . . . A useful resource for scholarship for advanced undergraduates and above." - Religious Studies Review "[The editor's introduction], backed up by an appendix which is intended to serve as a basis and guide for the comparative study of new religions, is a piece of sociology at its best, that is, as a hard, rigorous, demanding discipline made comprehensible to the layman, and of relevance to the everyday world in which we live." - Religion Today

"The new religious movements present us with a bewildering array of religious novelty, and the essays collected in this volume by Eileen Barker go a long way in helping us to see a degree of order in the luxuriant growth. . . . Barker's book can be used as a sort of encyclopedia. . . . a valuable guide to the mass of modern cults." - Theology "Useful reading for students of the sociology of religion" - Contemporary Sociology

"A first-rate guide to New Religious Movements and their social significance" - Network ". . . most welcome. It succeeds in bringing together a number of the main scholars in this area and offers a variety of internal comparisons and criticisms." - Scottish Journal of Theology

"If the New Religions are a telling reaction to what goes on in the larger society, the reaction of the larger society to the New Religions is also telling. . . . [Christine] King's moving account of the resistance of the Jehovah's Witnesses to

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