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Assess the view that deprivation is the main reason for the growth of NRM's

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Introduction

Assess the view that deprivation is the main reason for the growth of NRM's Deprivation is distinguishable into relative and absolute deprivation. Physical abuse, starvation, and poverty are seen as forms of absolute deprivation, whereas relative deprivation can be defined as the discrepancy between what one expects in life and what one gets. In the 1950s and 1960s, much theorizing centred on the construction of typologies. This was also the case in deprivation theory. For example, Charles Glock distinguished five types of deprivation, depending on the kinds of strain felt: economic, social, organismic, ethical, and psychic deprivation. Every type gave rise to a particular type of religious group, respectively: sect, church, healing movement, reform movement, or cult. According to the class into which it fell, Glock could predict the "career" of the particular religious group. According to Bryan Wilson (1973), most new religious movements in the Third World were either thaumaturgic so they responded to very specific and acute forms of deprivation or revolutionist so they responded to the strain felt by the putative imminent destruction of the world. ...read more.

Middle

However, most of the world-rejecting new religious movements were drawn amongst the ranks of young, white middle-class Americans and Europeans during the era. Wallis argues that many of these recruits were already marginal; despite their background they were usually hippies, drug users etc.. with their marginality perhaps being increased by arrests for illegal activities. A result of which is the lifestyle offered by sects attracted them. A problem with these theories is that they do not explain why such individuals would join marginal members of society in the first place. 'Relative deprivation' can be used to explain this, referring to the subjectively perceived deprivation that they feel. They feel they live in a deprived world that they see is too materialistic, lonely and impersonal, and seek salvation in the sect they join. Stark and Bainbridge use relative deprivation to define sects as organizations that break away from an established church, since they believe it is deprived in certain factors. ...read more.

Conclusion

This is often contributed to by the modern globalized society such individuals live in, which creates what Weber calls the 'theodicy of disprivilege' and what Giddens argues is reflexivity and uncertainty. Clearly in modern, reflexive societies where views constantly change, people may join sects, but the theories cannot be applied to every context, as for example in fundamentalist Islam where sects such as the Shi'ites and the Sunnis have been established for generations, and there is little or no undermining of the traditional. In light of the above evidence I am able to conclude that there are many reasons for the growth in New Religious Movements and each individual has a different motivation for joining such movements. However, it seems that deprivation is quite a dominating reason as an explanation to the growth of these movements and it could be argued as a main reason. However it must be taken into account that everyone has personal motivations for their membership in NRM's and therefore we must not rely too much upon deprivation being the best answer to this question. Despina Muka ...read more.

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