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Doing Field Studies of Religious Movements: An Agenda

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Abstract:

Although the social scientific study of religion has seen the accumulation of numerous case studies, comparative work involving substantial numbers of cases is rare. In the absence of an accepted agenda for field research, field studies contain information relevant to the study at hand, but do not add systematically to a cumulative database. By contrast, field studies in anthropology may contain idiosyncratic information relevant to the author's interests, but an existing research agenda defines information researchers are expected to include, which has produced an expanding cross-cultural database. In this paper, we propose elements of a research agenda for the study of religious movements, including information related to movements' organizational history and context, mobilization, organization, governance, and outcomes. While this preliminary agenda is subject to refinement by others, it provides a starting point for the accumulation of comparable cases, and a basis for the comparative study of religious movements.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/0021-8294.00064

Affiliations: 1: Department of Sociology, Box 353340, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington 98195., Email: pitch@u.washington.edu 2: Department of Sociology, Box 353340, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington 98195., Email: cbader@u.washington.edu 3: Department of Sociology, Box 353340, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington 98195., Email: SOCSTARK@aol.com

Publication date: September 1, 2001

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