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date: 22 April 2021

Abstract and Keywords

In this chapter, I examine the academic literature on disaffiliation from an interdisciplinary perspective, most notably scholarship in sociology, psychology, and religious studies. I begin briefly with deconversion, due to its close—and often conflated—association with disaffiliation, followed by an overview of key disaffiliation literature, including the development of causal and role theory approaches. I then discuss the “cult controversy” phenomenon and post-involvement attitudes of former members that featured prominently in early NRM scholarship. I conclude with a discussion on methodological prospects for future research on disaffiliation and NRMs.

Keywords: new religions, defection, disengagement, apostasy, deconversion

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