Stuart Wright

Stuart Wright
Lamar University · Department of Sociology, Social Work and Criminal Justice

Doctor of Philosophy

About

82
Publications
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702
Citations
Introduction
Additional affiliations
September 1985 - January 2016
Lamar University
Position
  • Professor

Publications

Publications (82)
Chapter
This book is available as open access through the Bloomsbury Open programme and is available on www.bloomsburycollections.com. It is funded by the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters. Why do religions fail or die? Taking a multidisciplinary approach, this book explores this important question that has received little scholarly attention to dat...
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Full-text available
The new book, Storming Zion: Government Raids on Religious Communities, authored by Stuart A. Wright and Susan J. Palmer removes common stereotypes about non-traditional religious movements, often pejoratively referred to as “cults.” Recently Robert M. Worley, Book Review Editor of Theory in Action asked the lead author a few questions related to t...
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This article explores the impact of the 2008 Texas raid on the Fundamentalist Latter Day Saints community near Eldorado called the Yearning for Zion Ranch. We examine some critical post-raid developments and the convictions of prophet Warren Jeffs and ten other key church leaders on charges related to marriages with underage girls. These developmen...
Chapter
Following the 2008 Texas state raid on the Fundamentalist Latter Day Saints (FLDS), there was considerable public debate surrounding polygamy and the alleged victimization of women in these communities (Wright and Richardson 2011). While some of this debate clearly focused on underage marriage—a valid but separate issue2—there was still significant...
Article
This chapter examines the Texas state raid on the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ Latter Day Saints (FLDS) at the Yearning for Zion Ranch, with particular emphasis on the social construction of an alleged threat (in this case, “cult”) and the nature of the oppositional network that fueled the formulation of—and rationale behind—the raid. The...
Book
In April 2008, state police and child protection authorities raided Yearning for Zion Ranch near Eldorado, Texas, a community of 800 members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ Latter Day Saints (FLDS), a polygamist branch of the Mormons. State officials claimed that the raid, which was triggered by anonymous phone calls from an underage g...
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This paper revisits the controversy, recently revived by British religious studies scholar, Kenneth C. G. Newport, that the Branch Davidians had a theological rationale for mass suicide and likely set fire to their own home. Newport couples the theological argument with assertions of "unassailable evidence" regarding the government's reports as if...
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This study examines the concerted efforts of anticult movement (ACM) actors to weave narratives of cult brainwashing and mind control into the tragic events of 9/11. Key ACM leaders launched a national media campaign capitalizing on widespread fears and apprehensions surrounding the 9/11 terrorist attacks in an effort to control the framing of the...
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Following the deadly Oklahoma City bombing in 1995, far-right racialist leaders responded rapidly to changes in the political environment, disavowing militia and Patriot violence and exploiting increased public concerns about immigration and the growth of nonwhite populations. Evidence suggests that Patriot movement demobilization may have actually...
Chapter
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This chapter examines two dimensions of conversion/affiliation: the cultural and social structural factors affecting NRM growth; and conversion processes and models. The second section explores the research on disengagement or disaffiliation. Finally, the third section outlines ways to teach a college course on NRMs, and suggests research exercises...
Book
This book explores new ground in social movements by analyzing an escalating spiral of tension between the Patriot movement and the state centered on the mutual framing of conflict as ‘warfare’. By examining the social construction of ‘warfare’ as a principal script or frame defining the movement-state dynamic, Stuart A. Wright explains how this hi...
Chapter
Full-text available
During the 1980s and early 1990s, reports of alleged satanic cults, child abductions, baby breeding, ritual torture, infanticide, and cannibalism became quite commonplace. This phenomenon has been described by a number of scholars in North America and Great Britain as forms of collective behavior leading to "rumor-panic" or "moral panic" (Cohen 197...
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On the occasion of the tenth anniversary of the disastrous federal siege of the Branch Davidians, the tragedy is revisited in light of new government disclosures regarding negotiations during the 51-day standoff. Some of the newly available records - post-incident interviews with negotiators conducted by Justice Department investigators and memoran...
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A critical analysis is conducted of the wrongful death lawsuit brought against the United States government by Branch Davidian survivors and relatives. It is argued that a flawed verdict, exonerating the government of wrongdoing, was the result of evidentiary and procedural rulings by the trial judge that prevented the jury from hearing key evidenc...
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A systematic evaluation of the FBI's crisis negotiations with the Branch Davidians during a 51‐day standoff in 1993 is conducted. The analysis uncovers extensive violations of basic hostage‐barricade standards and protocols. The violations appear shortly after negotiations began indicating a premature disregard for the publicly declared goal of a p...
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With disturbing frequency, media coverage of new or nontraditional religions has been challenged by scholars as inflammatory, distorted, and infused with disparaging stereotypes. Though occasional abuses and excesses do occur in such groups, it appears that the assumption of misdeed is the norm among news reporters. The tendency to cast unconventio...
Article
On February 28, 1993, the United States Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (BATF) launched the largest assault in its history against a small religious community in central Texas. One hundred agents armed with automatic and semi automatic weapons invaded the compound, purportedly to execute a single search and arrest warrant. The raid went ba...
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Cooptation is used as a conceptual framework for analyzing a case of environmental conflict over a proposed toxic waste site that ended with allegations of betrayal aimed at community leaders who participated in structured negotiations with a waste disposal company. Though the negotiations committee challenging the waste company's proposal was stac...
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Some industry representatives, government officials and policy analysts have argued that the Not-in-My-Backyard (NIMBY) phenomenon is a result of an ill-informed public. They insist that opposition to new sites and technologies stems from ignorance of the facts—namely, that the new and stricter federal regulations imposed on waste disposal adequate...
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This study examines environmental conflicts surrounding new hazardous waste sites. Community or grassroots groups frequently are formed to oppose new treatment and disposal facilities, forcing a siting impasse - a condition often referred to by industry leaders as the 'Not-in-My-Backyard' syndrome. Statements by chemical industry leaders and policy...
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Continuing debates center on the causes of cult conversion and the mental and emotional effects of involvement. In recent years, expanded credibility has been given to the “brainwashing” or “coercive-persuasion” model by psychiatrists, psychologists, and psychiatric social workers widely influencing the courts, media, and public opinion. Members of...
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While there has been considerable attention and funding given to engineering-based siting criteria and mechanisms for implementation, technological advances have little value if public resistance to site location precludes the successful location of treatment facilities. Industry analysts now recognize that some of the most difficult obstacles to s...
Article
A common feature of certain highly controversial new religions (Unification Church, Hare Krishna, Children of God/Family of Love) is the prohibition against exclusive dyadic relations. Some related studies suggest that this prohibition helps eliminate competition for members' loyalties, thus perpetuating commitment and diminishing the likelihood of...
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Continuing debates and controversies center on the role of family-related factors inhibiting or contributing to youth involvement in cults. But empirical research has been scant and much of the debate is mired in polemical warfare. Therefore, a study of 90 former and current members of three highly controversial religious cults (Unification Church,...
Article
A study of forty-five ex-members of three highly controversial new religious movements was conducted in order to assess post-involvement attitudes toward the group. Though much has been written or said about ex-members who later claim to have been victims of "mind control" or "brainwashing," a closer investigation of such claims indicates that they...
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This study examines and analyzes the factors involved in voluntary disengagement (i.e., without the aid of deprogramming or "exit therapy") from three controversial new religious movements--the Unification Church, the Hare Krishna, and the Children of God. The maintenance of certain socialization mechanisms are crucial to the preservation of high l...
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It has long been argued that important relationships exist in American society between religious institutions, the values they teach, and family life. This essay examines the ways in which contemporary social scientists depict these relationships. The data consist of a content analysis of writings in sociology of the family texts, sociology of reli...
Article
The effects of sermons on a sample of lay Catholics is examined. It is found that sermons have rather a moderate effect and that social variables such as educational attainment, marital status, and involvement in parish activities are useful predictors of sermon effectiveness. While this study is a secondary analysis, based on a purposive rather th...
Article
Yinger (1977) has argued that all religions have a common "substructure" consisting of three essential components: the persistent experience of suffering, injustice, and meaninglessness. Yinger's argument rests substantially on evidence from answers to an open-ended question which asks respondents to designate what they feel to be the most fundamen...
Article
Thesis (M.A.)--University of Houston. Degree granted by Dept. of Sociology, College of Social Sciences. Includes bibliographical references (leaves [100]-102).

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Projects (2)
Project
Susan J. Palmer is directing a research project funded by the Social Sciences and the Humanities Research Council (Canada). Shewith and research assistants and 6 collaborators (Stuart Wright, Eileen Barker, J. Gordon Melton, Liselotte Frisk, Bernard Doherty and Bernadette Rigal-Cellard are studying at least 25 NRMs and their child-rearing practices as well as conflicts they have with their host governments.