The Inform Series addresses themes related to new religions, many of which have been the topics of Inform seminars. The series editorial board consists of internationally renowned scholars in the field. Books in the series will attract both an academic and interested general readership, particularly in the areas of Religious Studies, and the Sociology of Religion and Theology.
The series began with Ashgate in 2013 and continued with Routledge when the two companies merged in 2018 and has produced fifteen books so far with another two currently in production.
Edited By Eileen Barker, Beth Singler
October 29, 2021
All religions undergo continuous change, but minority religions tend to be less anchored in their ways than mainstream, traditional religions. This volume examines radical transformations undergone by a variety of minority religions, including the Children of God/ Family International; Gnosticism; Jediism; various manifestations of Paganism; LGBT Muslim groups; the Plymouth Brethren; Santa Muerte; and Satanism.
As with other books in the Routledge/Inform series, the contributors approach the subject from a wide range of perspectives: professional scholars include legal experts and sociologists specialising in new religious movements, but there are also chapters from those who have experienced a personal involvement. The volume is divided into four thematic parts that focus on different impetuses for radical change: interactions with society, technology and institutions, efforts at legitimation, and new revelations.
This book will be a useful source of information for social scientists, historians, theologians and other scholars with an interest in social change, minority religions and ‘cults’. It will also be of interest to a wider readership including lawyers, journalists, theologians and members of the general public.
Edited By Eileen Barker, James T. Richardson
December 31, 2020
Much has been written about the law as it affects new and minority religions, but relatively little has been written about how such religions react to the law. This book presents a wide variety of responses by minority religions to the legal environments within which they find themselves.
An international panel of experts offer examples from North America, Europe and Asia demonstrating how religions with relatively little status may resort to violence or passive acceptance of the law; how they may change their beliefs or practices in order to be in compliance with the law; or how they may resort to the law itself in order to change their legal standing, sometimes by forging alliances with those with more power or authority to achieve their goals. The volume concludes by applying theoretical insights from sociological studies of law, religion and social movements to the variety of responses.
The first systematic collection focussing on how minority religions respond to efforts at social control by various governmental agents, this book provides a vital reference for scholars of religion and the law, new religious movements, minority religions and the sociology of religion.
There is a response to Chapter Five in this volume by Nicholas Chiaia here.
Edited By Matthew Francis, Kim Knott
May 14, 2020
Religions are at their core about creating certainty. But what happens when groups lose control of their destiny? Whether it leads to violence, or to nonviolent innovations, as found in minority religions following the death of their founders or leaders, uncertainty and insecurity can lead to great change in the mission and even teachings of religious groups. This book brings together an international range of contributors to explore the uncertainty faced by new and minority religious movements as well as non-religious fringe groups.
The groups considered in the book span a range of religious traditions (Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam), old and new spiritual formations such as esotericism, New Age and organized new religious movements, as well as non-religious movements including the straight edge movement and the British Union of Fascists. The chapters deal with a variety of contexts, from the UK and US, to Japan and Egypt, with others discussing global movements. While all the authors deal with twentieth- and twenty-first-century movements and issues, several focus explicitly on historical cases or change over time.
This wide-ranging, yet cohesive volume will be of great interest to scholars of minority religious movements and non-religious fringe groups working across religious studies, sociology and social psychology.
Edited By George D. Chryssides
August 14, 2018
Minority religions, not only New Religious Movements, are explored in this innovative book including the predicament of ancient religions such as Zoroastrianism, ‘old new’ religions such as Baha’i, and traditional religions that are minorities elsewhere. The book is divided into two parts: the gathering of data on religious minorities ("mapping"), and the ways in which governments and interest groups respond to them ("monitoring"). The international group examine which new religions exist in particular countries, what their uptake is, and how allegiance can be ascertained. They explore a range of issues faced by minority religions, encompassing official state recognition and registration, unequal treatment in comparison with a dominant religion, how changes in government can affect how they fare, the extent to which members are free to practise their faith, how they sometimes seek to influence politics, and how they can be affected by harassment and persecution.
Bringing together debates concerning the social and political issues facing new religions in Europe and the Middle East, this collection extends its focus to Middle Eastern minority faiths, enabling exposition of spiritual movements such as the Gülen Movement, Paganism in Israel, and the Zoroastrians in Tehran.
Edited By James T. Richardson, François Bellanger
February 12, 2018
New religious movements (NRMs) and other minority faiths have regularly been the focus of legal cases around the world in recent decades. This is the first book to focus on important aspects of the relationship of smaller faiths to the societies in which they function by using specific legal cases to examine social control efforts. The legal cases involve group leaders, a groups’ practices or alleged abuses against members and children in the group, legal actions brought by former members or third parties, attacks against such groups by outsiders including even governments, and libel and slander actions brought by religious groups as they seek to defend themselves. These cases are sometimes milestones in the relation between state authorities and religious groups. Exploring cases in different parts of the world, and assessing the events causing such cases and their consequences, this book offers a practical insight for understanding the relations of NRMs and other minority religions and the law from the perspective of legal cases. Chapters focus on legal, political, and social implications. Including contributions from scholars, legal practitioners, actual or former members, and authorities involved in such cases from various jurisdictions, this book presents an objective approach to understanding why so many legal actions have involved NRMs and other minority faiths in recent years in western societies, and the consequences of those actions for the society and the religious group as well.
Edited By Amanda van Eck Duymaer van Twist
February 12, 2018
Analysing both fraud and religion as social constructs with different functions and meanings attributed to them, this book raises issues that are central to debates about the limits of religious toleration in diverse societies, and the possible harm (as well as benefits) that religious organisations can visit upon society and individuals. There has already been a lively debate concerning the structural context in which abuse, especially sexual abuse, can be perpetrated within religion. Contributors to the volume proceed from the premise that similar arguments about ways in which structure and power may be conducive to abuse can be made about fraud and deception. Both can contribute to abuse, yet they are often less easily demonstrated and proven, hence less easily prosecuted. With a focus on minority religions, the book offers a comparative overview of the concept of religious fraud by bringing together analyses of different types of fraud or deception (financial, bio-medical, emotional, breach of trust and consent).
Contributors examine whether fraud is necessarily intentional (or whether that is in the eye of the beholder); certain structures may be more conducive to fraud; followers willingly participate in it. The volume includes some chapters focused on non-Western beliefs (Juju, Occult Economies, Dharma Lineage), which have travelled to the West and can be found in North American and European metropolitan areas.
Edited By Afe Adogame
February 05, 2018
The growing pace of international migration, technological revolution in media and travel generate circumstances that provide opportunities for the mobility of African new religious movements (ANRMs) within Africa and beyond. ANRMs are furthering their self-assertion and self-insertion into the religious landscapes of Europe, the Americas, and Asia. Their growing presence and public visibility seem to be more robustly captured by the popular media than by scholars of NRMs, historians of religion and social scientists, a tendency that has probably shaped the public mental picture and understanding of the phenomena. This book provides new theoretical and methodological insights for understanding and interpreting ANRMs and African-derived religions in diaspora. Contributors focus on individual groups and movements drawn from Christian, Islamic, Jewish and African-derived religious movements and explore their provenance and patterns of emergence; their belief systems and ritual practices; their public/civic roles; group self-definition; public perceptions and responses; tendencies towards integration/segregation; organisational networks; gender orientations and the implications of interactions within and between the groups and with the host societies. The book includes contributions from scholars and religious practitioners, thus offering new insights into how ANRMs can be better defined, approached, and interpreted by scholars, policy makers, and media practitioners alike.
Edited By Sarah Harvey, Silke Steidinger, James A. Beckford
December 27, 2017
There are many different ways in which minority religions and counselling may interact. In some cases there can be antagonism between counselling services and minority religions, with each suspecting they are ideologically threatened by the other, but it can be argued that the most common relationship is one of ignorance – mental health professionals do not pay much attention to religion and often do not ask or consider their client’s religious affiliation. To date, the understanding of this relationship has focused on the ‘anti-cult movement’ and the perceived need for members of minority religions to undergo some form of ‘exit counselling’. In line with the series, this volume takes a non-judgemental approach and instead highlights the variety of issues, religious groups and counselling approaches that are relevant at the interface between minority religion and counselling.
The volume is divided into four parts: Part I offers perspectives on counselling from different professions; Part II offers chapters from the field leaders directly involved in counselling former members of minority religions; Part III offers unique personal accounts by members and former members of a number of different new religions; while Part IV offers chapters on some of the most pertinent current issues in the counselling/minority religions fields, written by new and established academics. In every section, the volume seeks to explore different permutations of the counsellor-client relationship when religious identities are taken into account. This includes not only ‘secular’ therapists counselling former members of religion, but the complexities of the former member turned counsellor, as well as counselling practised both within religious movements and by religious movements that offer counselling services to the ‘outside’ world.
Edited By David M. Kirkham
December 06, 2013
The response of states to demands for free exercise of religion or belief varies greatly across the world. In some places, religions come as close as imaginable to autonomous existences with little interference from government. In other cases religion finds itself grinding out a meagre living, if at all, under the jealously watchful eye of the state. This book provides a legal and normative overview of the variety of responses to minority religions available to states. Exploring case studies ranging from Islamic regions such as Indonesia, Pakistan, and the wider Middle East, to Western Europe, Eastern Europe, China, Russia, Canada, and the Baltics, contributors include international scholars and experts in law, sociology, religious studies, and political science. This book offers invaluable perspectives on how minority religions are currently being received, reviewed, challenged, or ignored in different parts of the world.
Edited By Eugene V. Gallagher
November 15, 2016
Rather than being ephemeral fads, new religious movements (NRMs) have always been and will always be with us. So will their study. Offering an assessment of the state-of-the-field of the study of NRMs, Visioning New and Minority Religions begins by considering the analytical tools for the study of new or minority religions, drawing on the perspectives of diverse academic disciplines. The second part focuses on individual groups in a variety of geographical settings. Chapters in this section review the histories of particular groups in order to extrapolate future developments. They cover new religions that have persisted well past the first generation, such as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the Christian Scientists, and groups with comparatively shorter histories, such as various forms of contemporary Paganism, Soka Gakkai, and the Diamond Way Buddhist group. This volume will be of interest to scholars from across religious studies and sociology, as well as members of new and minority religious groups and those in "cult watching" groups.
Edited By Carole M. Cusack, Pavol Kosnáč
November 11, 2016
The twentieth century was a period of rapid change for religion. Secularisation resulted in a dramatic fall in church attendance in the West, and the 1950s and 1960s saw the introduction of new religions including the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), the Church of Scientology, and the Children of God. New religions were regarded with suspicion by society in general and Religious Studies scholars alike until the 1990s, when the emergence of a second generation of 'new new' religions – based on popular cultural forms including films, novels, computer games and comic books – and highly individualistic spiritualities confirmed the utter transformation of the religio-spiritual landscape. Indeed, Scientology and ISKCON appeared almost traditional and conservative when compared to the radically de-institutionalised, eclectic, parodic, fun-loving and experimental fiction-based, invented and hyper-real religions.
In this book, scholarly treatments of cutting-edge religious and spiritual trends are brought into conversation with contributions by representatives of Dudeism, the Church of All Worlds, the Temple of the Jedi Order and Tolkien spirituality groups. This book will simultaneously entertain, shock, challenge and delight scholars of religious studies, as well as those with a wider interest in new religious movements.
Edited By Eugene V. Gallagher
July 12, 2016
'Cult Wars' in Historical Perspective provides a broad characterization of the shifting religious contours over the past several decades. Offering an assessment of several important topics in the study of new religions, this book explores developments in well-known groups such as the Unification movement, The Family International (Children of God), the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), and the Church of Scientology. Bringing together both insiders and outsiders from various academic disciplines and personal perspectives, this book takes account of the ways in which the cult question is defined and addressed in different countries. It offers a vivid depiction of how the cult wars or cult controversies of the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries first took shape; the transformation of deeply entrenched positions on cults and sects as at least some members of new groups, cult watchers, and academics entered into serious and sustained conversations about topics of mutual concern; the shifting foci and concerns of the general public, law enforcement and the courts, and academics in various countries; and the complex histories of individual groups in which many dramatic transformations have occurred despite their comparatively short life spans.
Edited By Stephen M. Cherry, Helen Rose Ebaugh
January 28, 2014
From global missionizing among proselytic faiths to mass migration through religious diasporas, religion has traveled from one side of the world and back again. It continues to play a prominent role in shaping world politics and has been a vital force in the continued emergence, spread, and creation of a transnational civil society. Exploring how religious roots are shaping organizations that seek to aid people across political and geographic boundaries - 'service movements' - this book focuses on how religious movements establish structures to assist people with basic human needs such as food, clothing, shelter, education, and health. Examining a multitude of faith traditions with origins in different parts of the world, seven contributing chapters, with an introduction and conclusions by the senior author, offer a unique discussion of the intersections between religious transnationalism and social movements.
Edited By Suzanne Newcombe, Sarah Harvey
April 22, 2013
Secular and spiritual prophets of doom abound in the information-rich twenty-first century - as they have for millennia. But there has yet to be worldwide floods, meteor impact, global computer failure, obvious alien contact, or direct intervention from God to end the world as we know it. Considering the frequency with which prophecy apparently fails, why do prophecies continue to be made, and what social functions do they serve? This volume gives a concise, but comprehensive, overview of the rich diversity of prophecy, its role in major world religions as well as in new religions and alternative spiritualties, its social dynamics and its impact on individuals’ lives. Academic analyses are complimented with contextualized primary source testimonies of those who live and have lived within a prophetic framework. The book argues that the key to understanding the more dramatic, apocalyptic and millenarian aspects of prophecy is in appreciating prophecy’s more mundane manifestations and its role in providing meaning and motivation in everyday life.
Edited By Eileen Barker
December 17, 2013
New Religious Movements tend to start their lives with a number of unequivocal statements, not only of a theological nature but also about the world and appropriate behaviours for the believer. Yet these apparently inalienable Truths and their interpretations frequently become revised, ’adjusted’ or selectively adopted by different believers. This book explores different ways in which, as NRMs develop, stagnate, fade away, or abruptly cease to exist, certain orthodoxies and practices have, for one reason or another, been dropped or radically altered. Sometimes such changes are adapted by only a section of the movement, resulting in schism. Of particular concern are processes that might lead to violent and/or anti-social behaviour. As part of the Ashgate/Inform series, and in the spirit of the Inform Seminars, this book approaches its topic from a wide range of perspectives. Contributors include academics, current and former members of NRMs, and members of ’cult-watching’ movements. All the contributions are of a scholarly rather than a polemic nature, and brought together by Eileen Barker, the founder of Inform.
Edited By Timothy Miller
February 20, 2013
Exploring religious and spiritual intentional communities active in the world today, Spiritual and Visionary Communities provides a balanced introduction to a diverse range of communities worldwide. Breaking new ground with its focus on communities which have had little previous academic or public attention, the authors explore a part of contemporary society which is rarely understood. Communities studied include: Israeli kibbutzim, Mandarom, the Twelve Tribes, ’The Farm’ and the Camphill movement. Written from a range of perspectives, this collection includes contributions from members of the groups themselves, former members, and academic observers, and as such will offer a unique and invaluable discussion of religious and spiritual communities in the U.S., Europe, and beyond.