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Schisms

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(Neil Smelser),
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(why social conflict should
lead to religious separation)4
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Schisms as the expression of social differences rather than the doctrinal and liturgical disputes they ostensibly
represent.
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This approach is informative because it enables us to understand the social grounding of religious conflict

and it does acknowledge that schism is one of the most common ways in which new religious groups appear.

However, it does not tell the full story, for it does not tell us why social conflict should lead to religious
separation, simply because it does not look inside the schism-rent group to examine the tensions and strains
found within.
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(. Stark, for example, has gone so far as to say that all schisms represent
in reality a political challenge to the status quo and should therefore be seen and explained in the same light as
political revolts. Stark/Wilson).

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(structural strain);
(structural conduciveness);
(mobilizing agent)
precipitating factor
(social control).

(generalized belief), ,
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, a movement which has its origins in a
dispute over norms and allegations that the main group has departed from those implicated in the values of the
original movement.

Wilson omits generalized belief because he beliefs that schismatic groups do not withdraw on the basis of a
generalized belief but do so on quite 'rational' grounds. Is this justified? Bring it back in?
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Strain describes a situation where accepted norms are not fully appropriate to the system's values.

in the hierarchy of control in any system, values are paramount, that norms provide the needed specification of
means and that there is a tendency towards attaining and sustaining a 'fit' between values and norms.
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Norm-value strain is at the core of all cases of schism.

In all religious movements there is a fund of issues over which conflict can legitimately take place. It is not
sufficient, then, to point to the doctrinal disputes, or to the underlying social differences in cases of schism. We
must look also at strains inherent in the movement which these other factors may only exacerbate.

If the forces of social control are strong enough to withstand demands for reform and yet too weak to be resolute,
then schism is likely. Where the authorities are very weak then the dissidents are less likely to be prompted to
withdraw but encouraged to reform the system itself.