Susan J. Palmer is a researcher, sociologist and writer in the area of new religious movements (popularly known as "cults"). She received her Ph.D. from Concordia University where she is an Affiliate Professor and Part-time Instructor and teaches courses, including "Cults and Religious Controversy." She is also a Member of the Religious Studies Faculty at McGill University. Her research area has always been in the field of New Religious Movements. Most of her research has taken place in Quebec, the U.S. and in France. Her most recent book, The New Heretics of France (Oxford, 2011), describes the rise of the government-sponsored antisecte movement in France, and the opposition and discrimination experienced by French citizens whose spiritual association was on the National Assembly’s Guyard list of 173 sectes. Her new book (co-authored with Stuart Wright), Storming Zion: Government Raids on Religions, is published by Oxford University Press.
Tune in for Part I of our RSP Remix episodes on Cults and New Religious Movements!
In the complex and sometimes fraught relationship between New Religious Movements and the wider culture and state, why is it that children are so often a focus? Children are seen as needing special protection and therefore legitimising dramatic state intervention, but are also seen as of particular importance to the future of these movements, and in some more millennial groups, of the world itself.
Surely we have moved past the idea of sinister cults brainwashing innocent victims? When it comes to the law, not so, Susan Palmer tells David G. Robertson.cult" and "sect" uncritically. Nevertheless, outside of academia, the language of "cults" continues to be used,...