Title

Participant Narratives and Collective Identity in a Metaphysical Movement

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

1-1-2002

Department

Anthropology and Sociology

Abstract

In this article we explore social movement solidarity through an examination of narratives offered by participants in a metaphysical movement. Drawing from contemporary social movement theory, we focus on how members develop a carefully built collective identity that perpetuates movement goals and ideology. Data for this project are drawn from in-depth interviews with local psychics, participant observation in various metaphysical fairs, and document analysis. We find that the movement's collective identity is centered around several narratives that help establish boundaries, identify antagonists, and create a collective consciousness. Together these narratives form a web of belief that binds members to the movement. The data we present in this article have implications for understanding other expressive movements, as well as for social movement theory in general.

Publication Title

Sociological Spectrum

Volume

22

Issue

1

First Page

107

Last Page

135