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Teaching New Religious Movements$
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David G. Bromley

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780195177299

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195177299.001.0001

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The Meaning and Significance of New Religious Movements

The Meaning and Significance of New Religious Movements

(p.115) The Meaning and Significance of New Religious Movements
Teaching New Religious Movements

Lorne L. Dawson (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

While the number of people involved in new religious movements (NRMs) is small, the attention they have received in the popular media and academic discourse suggest a greater significance. In the popular media, NRMs are most often seen as a social problem. In academic studies, they are more often associated with processes of social change and the critique of modernity. In the literature, there are four interpretive frameworks for understanding the significance of NRMs when viewed as a response to the social conditions of modernity. The first sees them as part of the protest against modernity. The second sees them as forums for modern social experimentation. The third identifies them with the re-enchantment of the modern world. The fourth suggests they are born of attempts to adapt to the social and psychological tensions created by a dialectic of trust and risk in late modern societies.

Keywords:   social problem, social change, modernity, protest, experimentation, re-enchantment, anomie, alienation, secularization, globalization

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