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“‘Tacit Disaffiliation': disaffiliation in the absence of an explicit conversion”.
Masoumeh Rahmani

Last modified: 2015-10-29


While substantial contributions have been made towards understanding the process of affiliation to New Religious Movements, the field that explores the evolution of its counterpart, disaffiliation, remains relatively underdeveloped. Drawing from ethnographic fieldwork and in-depth interviews conducted with 27 former (and continuing) practitioners of Goenka’s vipassana movement in New Zealand, this paper explores an implicit pattern of disaffiliation that has been widely neglected by previous studies. More specifically, this paper explores the process of disaffiliation in a movement where association with religion has been constantly denied by the organization, hence creating a paradox where participants actively overlooked the notion of conversion, despite identifying with a set of newfound beliefs and values tightly associated with Buddhism.


Conversion, Disaffiliation, Ethnography