Publication:
Triggers of violence in new religious movements

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Authors
Taylor, David M.
Struve, Kristopher W.
Subjects
Cult
New Religious Movement
Social Network Analysis
ORA
UCINET
Violence
Similarity Correlation
Aum Shinrikyo
Branch Davidians
Peoples Temple
Scientology
Advisors
Everton, Sean
Date of Issue
2012-12
Date
Dec-12
Publisher
Monterey, California. Naval Postgraduate School
Language
Abstract
The research for this study has aimed at determining whether New Religious Movements (NRM) shared certain attributes (i.e., characteristics) that might help determine their propensity for violence. The goal was a model that a government or civil authority could use to compare a budding religious movement to determine whether it might become violent. This study only included post-World War II NRMs to limit the scope of research, and religious sects were excluded. A review of relevant literature in the study of NRMs and religious violence highlighted ten attributes that seemed to be prevalent in violent NRMs dramatic denouements, strict rule of law/high commitment, supernaturalism, new religion/teachings, isolationism, apocalyptic teachings, charismatic leader, absolute authority, group fragility, and repression. These ten attributes were used to grade all of the NRMs and the results were analyzed using Social Network Analysis (SNA) techniques for similarity. The results showed that violent NRMs clustered together meaning that they were more closely associated with certain attributes. The attribute scores for dramatic denouements, strict rule of law, apocalyptic teachings, and isolationism were substantially more associated with violent NRMs than with nonviolent NRMs.
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Thesis
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Department
Defense Analysis (DA)
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Distribution Statement
Approved for public release; distribution is unlimited.
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