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The role of dissent in the creation of Seventh-day Adventist identity

  • Author / Creator
    Dunfield, Timothy
  • This thesis studies the benefits that a religious organization acquires from its identification of, and reaction to, “deviants” within it. If an organization is to continue growing while still maintaining a unique identity, periodically it must have deviant movements within it. Theoretically, I apply insights from sociologists of deviance (particularly Durkheim and Erikson) about the functional benefits of deviance labeling for several aspects of group functioning, such as beliefs and the means of disseminating them, structure and hierarchy, internal policies, and leadership styles. I studied the Seventh-day Adventist organization, applying Festinger’s cognitive dissonance theory to it, in order to better illuminate its history and reaction to dissenters. I focused on three Adventist dissenters; Dudley Canright, John Harvey Kellogg, and the threat posed by Ellet J. Waggoner and Alonzo T. Jones, showing how the organization reinforced its boundaries and maintained control of its members by identifying and punishing these supposed deviants.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    2009-11
  • Type of Item
    Thesis
  • Degree
    Master of Arts
  • DOI
    https://doi.org/10.7939/R3R313
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
  • Language
    English
  • Institution
    University of Alberta
  • Degree level
    Master's
  • Department
    • Religious Studies
  • Supervisor / co-supervisor and their department(s)
    • Kent, Stephen (Sociology)
  • Examining committee members and their departments
    • Kent, Stephen (Sociology)
    • Braun, Willi (Religious Studies)
    • Kitchen, John (Religious Studies)
    • Brown, Sylvia (English)