Growing up in contemporary sectarian movements : an analysis of segregated socialization
This thesis explores changes in group boundaries when children are born into sectarian movements, and how these changes affect the movements and their young members. Over time sectarian groups may 'denominationalise' or remain sectarian. The resulting dynamics, within the sect and between the sect and society, affect the people born within these sects, and their (perceived) level of inclusion or exclusion within society. This point is illustrated throughout the thesis on several levels, describing internal pressures on sectarian groups as well as external pressures - offering a variety of case studies involving legislation, regulation, intervention, and their outcomes. In turn, attitudes towards sects differ according to the state's position, public perception, and what information is provided and used in deciding on action. Tension between the state and sects can shape the childhoods of those within the sectarian groups. How these tensions are resolved has a strong influence on the range of options second-generation adults have regarding their affiliation with the group in which they were raised; whether they stay, leave, are expelled, can choose their own level and mode of adherence, and so forth. This is the first comparative exploration of the different options presented by a variety of sectarian groups and by the types of support available within the wider society for second-generation members who have decided to leave. The thesis raises questions about the effects sectarian socialization can have on future social affiliations and the role of the support mechanisms in the young people's subsequent adjustment to the wider society. It illustrates, on the level of the individual, the significance of primary and secondary socialization regarding the transmission of values and world-views and, most interesting sociologically, a person's perception of society and his or her place within it.