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Ritual Abuse and the Moral Crusade against Satanism

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Abstract

Examines what accounts for widespread belief in allegations of ritual child abuse by satanic cults in the absence of any verifiable law enforcement or scientific evidence. It is hypothesized that allegations of ritual abuse are manifestations of the social construction of an imaginary form of deviance that is being promoted by a moral crusade against satanism. Events of a satanic cult ritual abuse scare in England are used to illustrate the collective behavior dynamics. Controversies surrounding claims about ritual child abuse can be best understood if they are studied in the social context of the moral crusade against satanism. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)

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... Requests for reprints should be sent to Carol A. Jenkins, PhD, Department of Social Science -Sociology, Glendale Community College, 6000 West Olive Avenue, Glendale, AZ 85302. P rofessor Victor (1992), in his article, "Ritual Abuse and the Moral Crusade Against Satanism," has attempted to apply the sociological argument to a historical example in order to explain that the kinds of deviations a community experiences has something to do with the way it visualizes the boundaries of its cultural universe. Citing the 1988 satanic cult abuse scare in Rochdale, England, Victor provides brief observations concerning the extent to which the collective response to ritual abuse as a deviant act (a) tended to create a sense of mutuality among the people of a collectivity by supplying a focus for group feeling, (b) made people more alert to the interests they shared in common, and (c) drew attention to those values which constituted their "collective conscience." ...
... As Professor Victor (1992) has argued, the only way an observer can tell whether or not a given style of behavior is deviant is to learn something about the standards of the audience which responds to it. In so doing the reader needs to understand, as in the case of the Rochdale SRA incident, that the community's decision to bring deviant sanctions against the parents was not a simple act of censure but rather, in Parsonian terms (Parsons, 1951), an intricate rite of transition, at once moving the individuals out of their ordinary place in society and transferring them into that of special deviants. ...
... These commitment ceremonies tend to be occasions of wide public interest and ordinarily take place in a high dramatic setting. Thus, as Victor (1992) has argued, a circularity is set into motion which has all the earmarks of a "self-fulfilling prophecy," to use Merton's (1957) phrase. ...
Article
Jenkins’ response focuses on an analysis and critique of Victor's application of a sociological argument to the 1988 satanic abuse scare in Rochdale, England. Important questions relate to why the religious collectivity in Rochdale assigned SRA behavior to a “deviant” category. The author critiques Victor's failure to suggest the range of alternative theoretical paradigms used to explain collective behavior and the linkages there are between ideology, social action, and collective response.
... The original statement, declared in the 2012 SAPS Occult-Related Crimes Unit (ORCU) memorandum, regarding "motive [for a harmful religious/occult crime which] must be rooted in the supernatural", is hearsay, given the prejudicial circumstances of its religious approach to said 'crimes', furthermore not even the evidence cited as Moreover, in support of this, as far as mainstream and contemporary criminology is concerned, the epistemology (or burden) of evidence is firmly rooted within positivistic empiricism, dedicating itself to a secular worldview; therefore, dealing with spirituality (outside of the theological realm) is considered scientifically unsound (Petrus, et al. 2018:168) Lanning (1992) and Victor (1992);(1994a);(1994b) and(1998). ...
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From Slipknot to 'Devilsdorp', South Africa has continually shown a rather difficult relationship with religious superstition pertaining to perceived evil, feeding their fear of 'the other' (see Kroesbergen 2014:155-159). Especially seeing as though, according to Scroope (2019) approximately 84.2% of the South African population, which is 60.14 million (see Mokoena 2021:3) identify with Christianity. The rest of the plus-minus 13.9% identifying with Ancestral or Traditional African Religions (5%), Muslim (2%), Hindu (1%), Jewish (0.2%). With a similar percentage to Jewish identified as being Atheist or Agnostic-5.5% identified with "nothing in particular" whereas a final 1.6% hadn't specified at all (Scroope, 2019 cf. Mokoena 2021:3). These statistics are somewhat unrepresentative, seeing as though religion (in general) has played – and still plays – an important role in contemporary South African society, especially Christian beliefs in particular (Inglehart 2011:13-17 cf. Kotzé & Loubser 2017:2). In addition to this, according to Kotzé & Loubser (2017), when South Africans were asked, whether belief in God was a necessary prerequisite for being a good and moral person, approximately 76-82% of Christians agreed with this statement (Kotzé & Loubser 2017:10). This notion, accompanied with the aforementioned demographic shows an overwhelming bias (or perhaps ignorance), towards statistically representing minority religious/non-religious groups, and (NRMs) New Religious Movements (cf. Petersen & Dyrendal 2012:215-230). This paper will thus endeavour to explore how such hegemonic demographic and its respective biases affect NRMs like Satanism and other Occult-related religious identities in South Africa.
... Under hypnosis or other leading and suggestive techniques, patients would "recover" memories of Satanic ritual abuse perpetrated against them as children (Kelley 1989;Smith and Pazder 1980;Young et al. 1991). However, these methods and findings were largely dismissed by many academics, even at that time, to be pseudoscience and more of a reflection of the therapists' beliefs than the experiences of their highly suggestible patients (Jenkins and Maier-Katkin 1992;Mulhern 1991;Victor 1992). And much like the historical treatment of Satanism, the attention paid by mental health researchers and therapists believing the Satanic cult conspiracies to be true were focused on accusations of Satanism, as opposed to examining the experiences of self-identified Satanists. ...
Article
Modern Satanism is an oft-misunderstood and stigmatized minority religion that has largely been viewed by mental health professionals through a lens of deviance. Understanding Satanists’ experiences with this stigmatized identity is absent in the current psychological literature. Conceptualizing Satanism within the minority stress and rejection-identification models, a nonrandom sample of 1,272 self-identified Satanists were surveyed about their strength of identity, anticipated discrimination, and depressive symptoms. Results indicated that aspects of Satanist identity (centrality and in-group ties) positively correlated with anticipated discrimination, and other aspects (in-group ties and in-group affect) negatively correlated with depressive symptoms. Additionally, in-group ties moderated the relationship between anticipated discrimination and depressive symptoms, suggesting that Satanists who have social support from other Satanists are less affected by the depressive repercussions of anticipated discrimination. Implications for mental health professionals treating Satanists presenting with religious minority stressors and depressive symptoms are discussed.
... For example, one psychiatrist (3) noted that the methods employed by "pedophiles and sexual abusers" in ritual occult abuse produce "people with programmable multiple personalities." Others point to the role of Fundamentalist religion, mass hysteria, use of hypnotically based memory recovery techniques, the role of the mass media (4), and repressed collective rage and fear in the social construction of satanic cult crime (5,6). An extremely interesting document published by a special agent at the Federal Bureau of Investigation Behavioral Science Unit (7) reported that in more than 12,000 investigated cases involving allegations of satanic ritual abuse, no evidence to support the accusations has ever been found. ...
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Since the emergence of Albert Bandura's (1971) social/observational learning theory, it comes as no surprise that film plays an important role in helping condition our societal perceptions; influencing our narratives about not only our lived religion, but also that of broader society. Film thus allows us to subconsciously learn new information through observation (Ahorsu & Danquah 2013:63). Do Nascimento (2019) supports this notion in arguing that the stories we watch often reflect and sustain de facto institutional and cultural narratives, whilst simultaneously encouraging many of our actions in 'lived society' (Do Nascimento 2019:19). Moreover, this approach is also relevant for 'lived religion': a term often used synonymously with the Christian notion of practical theology (see Ganzevoort & Roeland 2014:3-4) and which-per definition-is also not alien to the Occult-notion in Crowley's philosophy of Thelema (Crowley 1929:17-26). The Thelemic philosophy regards any (and all) willed actions (as opposed to habitual actions) like walking the dog, brushing teeth or even gardening as magick (Duquette 1993:1-2; Wallace 2015:25), as it enhances one's life focus. This paper will explore how filmic misrepresentations of the Occult in cinema, influences societal narratives circulating around the 'lived religion' of the Occult and its practitioners. The ‘Satanic Panic’: exploring the influence of film in formulating narratives surrounding the lived religion of the Occult and its practitioners © 2021 by Tristan Kapp is licensed under Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International
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Project (M.S.)--State University of New York at Buffalo, 1974. Includes bibliographical references (leaves 52-53) Photocopy of typescript.
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This paper proposes a general theory of political witch hunts, viewing them as ritual mechanisms for the periodic rejuvenation of collective sentiments in national societies. Ultimate national purposes require not only their worshipers, but also their enemies. When these sacred forces penetrate daily reality, then their opposites-subversives-will also appear in daily institutional life. The corporateness of societies, as expressed in their political system, is theoretically linked to the penetration of transcendent reality into daily life, and a witch-hunting dispersion index is proposed to measure the extent to which subversion is ritually discovered throughout a society's social institutions. The overall rate of witch hunting is also measured. Data on rates of political witch hunting between 1950 and 1970 for 39 countries is presented to evaluate the general theoretical argument. The data suggest that as societies politically express more of their corporate national interest they ritually cleanse more institutional areas, as measured by the dispersion index. Along with the representation of the corporate national interest, the overall rate of witch hunting is significantly affected by country size, level of economic development and the relative power of the state. The dispersion of witch hunting, on the other hand, is unaffected by these control variables and seems to be a more purely Durkheimian phenomenon.
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focus on political reform movements the field in 1970 / macro theory and research on movement emergence / micro theory and research on recruitment to activism movement maintenance and change / macro development: SMOs [social movement organizations] and the larger organizational environment / micro processes in movement development (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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This study provides a critical historical review and analysis of the variety of human expressions which have been erroneously labeled under the grandiose category "mass hysteria". It is argued that Western science reductionist approaches to the classification of "mass hysteria" treat it as an entity to be discovered transculturally, and in their self-fulfilling search for universals systematically exclude what does not fit within the autonomous parameters of its Western-biased culture model, exemplifying what Kleinman (1977) terms a "category fallacy." As a result of objectivist methodologies, the etiology of actions labeled as "mass hysteria" is typically viewed as deviant, irrational or abnormal behavior resulting from a malfunctioning 'proper' social order. However, what constitutes 'the' correct social order is a function of a researcher's historical sociocultural and/or scientific milieu. This study reviews the problem, advocating Geertz's (1973) culturally relativistic approach to understanding various cross-cultural behavior that is sensitive to and tolerant of the unique context and milieu of participants. "Mass" or "epidemic hysteria" is viewed as an invention of Western psychiatry and should be abandoned and replaced with the term collective exaggerated emotions. Instead of attempting to 'discover' a neatly packaged, unitary external disease entity, the focus of a meaning-oriented approach emphasizes the deciphering of foreign realities, semantic networks and symbol systems.
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VICTOR, JEFFREY S. Address: Department of Sociology, State University of New York-Jamestown Community College, 525 Falconer Street, Jamestown, New York 14701. Title: Professor of Sociology. Degree: PhD, State University of New York at Buffalo. Specializations: Sociology of deviant behavior; human sexuality.