A Brazilian challenge to Lewis's explanation of cult mediumship

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5 Scopus citations


Recruitment into peripheral possession trance cults has been explained as attempts to compensate for socio-economic deprivation and jural impotence. This model, best developed by I. M. Lewis, is reviewed and its predictions are tested against two types of Brazilian data. Firstly, national census figures of religious affiliation are compared with measures of socio-economic stress for a diachronic analysis. A second, synchronic analysis involves 62 respondents in Rio de Janeiro who completed questionnaires on socio-economic status, cultic affiliation, and perceptions of stress and gender inequality. The results offer only weak support for Lewis's original model, which may therefore profit from supplementation from other theoretical perspectives.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)361-377
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Contemporary Religion
Issue number3
StatePublished - Oct 1 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Religious studies
  • Philosophy


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