The statement introducing this article summarizes its purpose clearly and concisely: “This article is about the movement-environment relationships of American marginal religious movements. It adds to the literature about the tensions surrounding contemporary movements by…
This represents an inclusive study examining the relationship between religion (marginal groups) in American culture and their survival and adaptation within society.
The study on which the article is based is meant to contribute to the overall literature on the topic and is not, in itself, the definitive final word. It is geared toward scholars but can be equally understood by and is of interest to layman for whom religious groups with often obscure purposes and beliefs hold a fascination. Various literature and sociological instances are used to support or refute its findings and conclusions. Focusing on the power and propensity of U.S. society to produce such organizations, the article examines their frequency and growth throughout its history, and the controversy and political and social backlash that often accompany their existence. Forgoing current methodology that leans toward separating groups into church, sect and cult, the authors state their goal “...to connect the analysis of religious movements with more generic analyses of (all) social movements” (Harper and Le Beau 172). Deviance perceived by society within the organizations is viewed as a possible product of the reaction of society itself based on MRM behavior, perceived behavior within it, or the influence of individuals or groups outside of it which may feel threatened by its beliefs or practices. Social adaptation of these movements is presented as a series of positive and negative accommodations, to “...be understood as a structural relationship between a movement and its social environment at a given time, across time social adaptation is an emergent and dynamic social interaction process” (Harper and Le Beau 174).
The authors arguments support their hypothesis: ”there is no direct determinant relationship between high problematization (groups unfavorably viewed by ...
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