Journal Article

The Presentation of the Charismatic Self in Everyday Life: Reflections on a Canadian New Religious Movement

Paul Joosse

in Sociology of Religion

Published on behalf of Association for the Sociology of Religion

Volume 73, issue 2, pages 174-199
Published in print June 2012 | ISSN: 1069-4404
Published online September 2011 | e-ISSN: 1759-8818 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/socrel/srr045
The Presentation of the Charismatic Self in Everyday Life: Reflections on a Canadian New Religious Movement

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Taking inspiration from Goffman's dramaturgical metaphor of sociality, this article explores the dynamics involved in the presentation of the charismatic self in everyday life, with a focus on the new religious movement led by John de Ruiter. The concept of “the everyday” was central to the thought of both Erving Goffman and Max Weber, and I illustrate how a marriage of insights from both thinkers can provide new opportunities for understanding the causes of charismatic disenchantment. Specifically, I focus on instances of discrepancy between de Ruiter's charismatic and noncharismatic roles. Among the various alternative, noncharismatic images of de Ruiter that are in circulation, those of psychological and moral deviance produced and propounded by the countercult movement are less germane to processes of deconversion than simple “ordinary guy” roles that devotees glimpse during backstage encounters with him.

Keywords: charisma; charismatic movement; cults and sects; new religious movements; Goffman; dramaturgy

Journal Article.  11776 words. 

Subjects: Religion ; Sociology of Religion

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