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.

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Publication Date

August 2000

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Anthropology Commons