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A comparative study of minority religious groups: with special reference to holiness and related movements in Britain in the last 90 years

Warburton, T.R. (1966) A comparative study of minority religious groups: with special reference to holiness and related movements in Britain in the last 90 years. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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Identification Number: 10.21953/lse.696son1s4wuc


Holiness and interdenominational movements have been neglected by sociological studies of religion. This is an investigation of two modern British conversionist groups, Emanuel and the Faith Mission, which in varying degrees possesses both of these qualities. They are considered in tmers of their historical background and development, their place among contemporary British Holiness movements, their social and theological teachings, their organization and social composition. They have experienced to a greater of lesser extent the pressures towards organizational change eg the routinization of charisma, professionalization of personnel, legalisation of procedure and structural formalization, to which the sect-denomination-church framework has drawn attention in the analysis of the dynamics of religious groups. However, these two movements, which are Institutionalized missionary agencies, do no fit into that typology. An Institutional analysis of the two movements, using the Parsons-Bales-Shils system model to give order to a number of detailed sociological observations, interprets them as functioning wholes, maintaining themselves by means of a set of roles, techniques and procedures. There is evidence of tension and conflict between these separate structural elements, between the goals within each movement, and in the relationship of the groups to secular society. A clear understanding of them requires an examination of the internal and external social factors involved in their operation. While this study is not psychological, there are suggestions that groups like Emmanuel and the Faith Mission have a capacity to integrate personalities by providing individuals with a sense of belonging to a friendly, purposeful and divinely supported fellowship. Within the structure of contemporary society these groups are functional alternatives to such groups as delinquent gangs and criminal subcommunities in the sense that they provide their member, which include groups of marginal individuals, many of them culturally and educationally deprived, with a sense of identity, a meaningful comprehension of a confusing world and a recognized status and a purposeful role within a sustained structure of motivation.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 1966 T.R. Warburton
Library of Congress subject classification: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Sets: Departments > Sociology
Supervisor: MacRae, Donald

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