New Religious Movements: an Attempt at Sociological Understanding


  • Anna Sprenne V. N. Karazin Kharkiv National University



new religious movements, classification of new religious movements, «sect», «cult», scientific discourse


The article raises the question of the insufficient theoretical elaboration of the concept of new religious movements in Ukrainian sociology. The author focuses attention on the fact that in the scientific discourse there arose a need for an alternative notion of the previously used terms «sect» and «cult», which became more publicistic and are estimated. For science, it is necessary to have a concept that will be objectively neutral and will allow maximum coverage of a wide range of associations alternative to traditional religions. To achieve this goal, the author analyzes the developments of foreign authors in the study of new religious movements and brings his theoretical concept of this concept within sociology. The author considers approaches in studying new religious movements by L. Grigorieva, E. Balagushkin, B. Falikova, R. Stark and U. Bainbridge, R. Wallis, J. Beckford, A. Barker. Based on the analysis, the author proposes his definition of new religious movements, which will avoid chronological limitations in the study of new religious movements, emphasize their novelty for a particular society and their high dynamism. A conclusion is drawn about the prospects for further use of this concept at the theoretical level and in empirical studies.


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