The Politics of Religious Apostasy:
The Role of Apostates in the Transformation of Religious Movements

David G. Bromley (editor)

256 pages, hardcover

Praeger Publishers, 1998
ISBN: 0275955087

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David G. Bromley, The Politics of Religious Apostasy

The current controversy surrounding new religions has brought to the forefront the role of apostates (i.e., disgruntled ex-members). These individuals leave controversial movements and assume roles in other organizations as public opponents against their former movements. This volume examines the motivations of the apostates, how they are recruited and play out their roles, the kinds of narratives they construct to discredit their previous groups, and the impact of apostasy on the outcome of conflicts between movements and society.

Topics include:

  • The Social Construction of Contested Exit Roles: Defectors, Whistleblowers, and Apostates
  • In Defense of Self: Apostasy as Spoiled Identity
  • Exploring the Varieties of Apostate Roles
  • Apostates Who Never Were: The Social Construction of Absque Facto Apostate Narratives
  • The Changing Apostate Role in the Evolution of the North American Anti-cult Movement


David G. Bromley is Professor of Sociology and Affiliate Professor in the Department of Religious Studies at Virginia Commonwealth University. He is currently the editor of the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, published by the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion, and editor of Religion and the Social Order, an annual serial published by the Association for the Sociology of Religion. He is the immediate past-president of the Association for the Sociology of Religion and a member of the Executive Councils of both the Association for the Study of Religion and the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion.

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