Cults, Sects and New Religious Movements: What are they doing in Contemporary Western Society?

Discern Annual Lecture 2006 by Prof. Emeritus Eileen Barker

    • Eileen Barker Ph D, OBE, FBA is Professor Emeritus of Sociology with Special Refernce to the Study of Religion at the London School of Economics and Political Science, University of London.  A former President of the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion, Prof Barker has written or edited ten books and written over 250 articles and book chapters.  Her books include New Religious Movements:  A Practical Introduction and The Making of a Moonie:  Brainwashing or Choice?  She is the Founder and Chair of INFORM, a charity supported by the British Government and Mainline Churches which helps enquirers with information about new religions that is as objective and up-to-date as possible.

      Her main research interest over the past 30 years has been, and continues to be, 'cults', 'sects' and new religious movements - and the social reactions to which they give rise; but since 1989 she has spent much of her time investigating changes in the religious situation in Easter Europe.  She has also been studying the Armenian Diaspora and its relationship with the newly formed Republic of Armenia.  Most of her research involves living with and/or interviewing those whom she studies, but she has conducted several surveys and was responsible for the British part of a large international study of religious and moral pluralism in Europe.

      Professor Barker is also one of DISCERN's International Advisors.