Encyclopedia of Latin American Religions

2019 Edition
| Editors: Henri Gooren


  • Emerson GiumbelliEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-27078-4_79


In Latin America, “sect” has been used predominantly as a term of accusation. As such, it has affected underprivileged groups within shifting historic contexts, primarily Protestant churches and groups and Afro-American religions, more recently groups whose organization and action raise suspicion from various social agents (the state, the media, or religious majorities). In reaction to this use, academics have looked for alternative terminology, such as “new religious movements” and “religious minorities,” with the objective of incorporating to the analysis the social process of the production of accusations.


Although it relates to specific sociological references, the term “sect,” in the way it has been used in Latin America, has taken on a quite accusatory meaning. Therefore, it is not possible to understand its occurrence without paying attention to the characteristics of the religious field and also to the dominant concepts of religion in the broader...


Accusations New religious movements Religious minorities 
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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of AnthropologyUniversidade Federal do Rio Grande do SulPorto AlegreBrazil