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 tested against two types of Brazilian data. Firstly, national census figures of religious affiliation are compared with measure 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.

Document Type


Publication Date

August 2000

Included in

Anthropology Commons



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.