Sectarianism and Fundamentalism

  • Stephen J. Hunt
Part of the Sociology for a Changing World book series (SCW)


Fundamentalism and sectarianism are frequently regarded as extreme, bizarre, or even dangerous forms of religion, at odds with mainstream society and outside established faiths. Certainly, a fair amount of public ignorance exists regarding the motivations, aims and beliefs of these expressions of religiosity. At the same time, a great deal of sociological ink has been spilt discussing sectarianism and, more lately, the related area of fundamentalism. This preoccupation is understandable given the proliferation of sects throughout the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, and their apparent increase in recent years. Sects are of interest at least because they provide opportunities to examine the member-ship, processes of conversion, ‘deviant’ beliefs and practices and the social and ecclesiastical dynamics which generate distinct forms of religious organization. The interconnected area of fundamentalism is of no less interest to sociology. Indeed, it is one of the most noteworthy developments in contemporary religion, having a widespread significance within the context of globalization, and an increasingly high profile within Western secular societies.


Western Society Religious Organization Intentional Community Mainstream Society Sect Member 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Copyright information

© Stephen J. Hunt 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stephen J. Hunt

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations