Conversion to Satanism

James R. Lewis

in The Devil’s Party

Published in print November 2012 | ISBN: 9780199779239
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780199979646 | DOI:
Conversion to Satanism

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This chapter examines conversion experiences in Paganism and Satanism. The goal is to address the common misconception that people joining such movements are either passive, confused or adolescent. Through a theoretical discussion and a presentation of empirical data, the chapter criticizes both external and internal stereotypes of conversion. Thus explanations based on cult behaviour, adolescent crisis, and the metaphor of “coming home” are incomplete accounts for engagement in loose networks such as the pagan or satanic milieu, let alone the groups arising from them. Further, the chapter advocates investigating “ideological fit” as a supplement to sociological approaches like social pull and affective experience, especially when confronted with decentralized networks propagated mainly through books, popular culture and the internet. Accordingly, a terminological shift from conversion to identity construction is suggested to highlight the transformation of both self and community today.

Keywords: Satanism; satanic milieu; conversion; Paganism; Satanism Survey; identity construction; ideological fit

Chapter.  8279 words. 

Subjects: East Asian Religions

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