Title

ISKCON and immigrants: The rise, decline, and rise again of a new religious movement

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

12-1-2008

Abstract

This article examines the impact of Indian immigration on the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), popularly known as "Hare Krishnas." After its emergence and initial growth as a new religious movement in the 1960s, ISKCON entered a period of decline and withdrawal in the 1980s because of second-generation problems and a series of financial and sexual scandals. A case study of the Chicago ISKCON temple shows that, since then, Indian immigration has provided ISKCON with new resources and a new target population for conversion. This has led to the reemergence of ISKCON as a religious movement, but one that differs in both its membership and its actions from the "seeker" movement of the 1960s and 1970s. The resurgence of ISKCON's movement activities is a product of congregational-level transnational interactions. The emergence of new religious movements, thus, must be seen in the context of broader historical dynamics as well as local microcosmic interactions. To the extent that these interactions are transnational in character, we should expect new religious movements to have an impact on the global "religious economy" with more rapid diffusion of religious innovations. © 2008 Midwest Sociological Society.

Publication Name

Sociological Quarterly

Volume Number

49

First Page

79

Last Page

104

Issue Number

1

DOI

10.1111/j.1533-8525.2007.00107.x

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