sect, sectarianism
The sociology of religion developed a model of religious organization which is referred to as the ‘church-sect typology’. As originally formulated by Max Weber (The Sociology of Religion, 1922) and Ernst Troeltsch (The Social Teaching of the Christian Churches, 1912), it was argued that the church type attempted to embrace all members of a society on a universalistic basis. The church, as a result, is a large, bureaucratic organization with a ministry or priesthood. It develops a formal orthodoxy, ritualistic patterns of worship, and recruits its members through socialization rather than evangelical conversion. The church is in political terms accommodated to the state and in social terms predominantly conservative in its beliefs and social standing. By contrast, the sect is a small, evangelical group which recruits its members by conversion, and which adopts a radical stance towards the state and society. The medieval Roman Catholic Church was the principal example of a universalistic church; sects include Baptists, Quakers, and Methodists.
Contemporary sociologists have modified this typology by identifying the denomination as an organization which is mid-way between the sect and the church, and by defining various sub-types of the sect. (‘An Analysis of Sect Development’, American Sociological Review, 1959) defined four different sub-types in terms of the various ways in which they rejected social values or were indifferent to secular society. These sub-types are the conversionist (such as the Salvation Army), the adventist or revolutionary sects (for example Jehovah's Witnesses), the introversionist or pietist sects (for instance Quakers), and the gnostic sects (such as Christian Science and New Thought sects). These sub-types have different beliefs, methods of recruitment, and attitudes towards the world. The processes of social change within these sects are thus very different. Wilson is also the author of the best recent account of sects (The Social Dimensions of Sectarianism, 1992).

Dictionary of sociology. 2013.

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  • Sect — (s[e^]kt), n. [F. secte, L. secta, fr. sequi to follow; often confused with L. secare, sectum, to cut. See {Sue} to follow, and cf. {Sept}, {Suit}, n.] Those following a particular leader or authority, or attached to a certain opinion; a company… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Sect — (s[e^]kt), n. [L. secare, sectum, to cut.] A cutting; a scion. [Obs.] Shak. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • -sect — [sekt] 〚< L sectus, pp. of secare, to cut: see SAW1〛 combining form forming adjectives cut, separated [pinnatisect] * * * sect suff. 1. To cut; divide: trisect. 2. Cut; divided …   Universalium

  • sect — [sekt] n [Date: 1300 1400; : Old French; Origin: secte group, sect , from Latin secta way of life, type of people , from sequi to follow ] a group of people with their own particular set of beliefs and practices, especially within or separated… …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • sect — (n.) c.1300, distinctive system of beliefs or observances; party or school within a religion, from O.Fr. secte, from L.L. secta religious group, sect, from L. secta manner, mode, following, school of thought, lit. a way, road, from fem. of sectus …   Etymology dictionary

  • sect — sect1 [sekt] n. [ME secte < MFr < L secta, path, way, method, party, faction, in LL(Ec), doctrine, sect < sequi, to follow: see SEQUENT] 1. a religious body or denomination, esp. a small group that has broken away from an established… …   English World dictionary

  • Sect — (verderbt aus Sec, v. ital. Vino secco, d.i. trockener Wein, Trockenbeerwein), 1) der Name mehrer starken, süßen Weine, bes. wenn sie aus fast trockenen (gewelkten) Beeren gekeltert sind u. daher die genannten Eigenschaften in höherem Grade… …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Sect — Sect, heißen mehrere Sorten starker spanischer Weine. Zu den besten gehört der Xeres , Malaga , Kanarien und Palmsect …   Damen Conversations Lexikon

  • Sect — nennen die Engländer mehre starke, süße span. Weine (von secco, trocken, weil aus überreifen, halbgetrockneten Trauben bereitet) …   Herders Conversations-Lexikon

  • sect — index class, denomination, side, society, split Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 …   Law dictionary

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