Vasilyeva E.N. The Typologies of Religious Associations: the Methodology and Contemporary Development Trends

Vasilyeva Elena Nikolaevna

Candidate of Philosophical Sciences, Associate Professor, Department of Religious Studies,

Institute of Social and Philosophical Sciences and Mass Communications,

Kazan (Volga Region) Federal University

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Kremlevskaya St., 18, 420008 Kazan, Russian Federation


Abstract. The article deals with the functions of the typological method in the sociology of religion, makes the distinction between the concepts of “typology” and “classification”. The author specifies the conditions of the typological method application and describes two types of the typological method - “the method of ideal types” and “the method of constructive types”. The causes of the unpopularity of the most known typology of religious associations - “church-sect” - in the contemporary sociology of religion and in the legal practice are analyzed. They include the use of terminology perceived as pejorative, and the vagueness of the concepts, especially of the “sect” concept. It is shown that the modern typology of religious organizations goes beyond the conceptual framework of the “church-sect” paradigm. The three new areas of typological construction in the sociology of religion are marked out: 1) the ”fundamentalism- liberalism” continuum, 2) the theoretical (typological) analysis of the phenomenon of megachurches and of other new processes of the organizational development in Protestantism, 3) the analysis of the structural features of the organization and activities of the new religious movements. The author points out the importance of creating up-to-date typological constructs in the field of the sociology of religion in order to give truly scientific explanations and forecasts of the religious life’s dynamics.

Key words: typological method, typologies, classifications, types of religious associations, “church-sect” typology, megachurches, new religious movements.

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The Typologies of Religious Associations: the Methodology and Contemporary Development Trends by Vasilyeva E.N. is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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