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'Losing my religion': Managing identity in a post-Jehovah's Witness world


Hookway, NS and Habibis, D, 'Losing my religion': Managing identity in a post-Jehovah's Witness world, Journal of Sociology, 51, (4) pp. 843-856. ISSN 1440-7833 (2015) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2013 the authors

DOI: doi:10.1177/1440783313476981


What is it like to be socialised into the self-contained Christian fundamentalist world of the Jehovah’s Witnesses and to move towards disinheriting that tradition during adolescence? This article considers this question by looking at how a group of young, Australian Jehovah’s Witnesses (JWs), who were born into the religion, make the journey from membership to dissent. The interview data suggest that for these young respondents the roots of disaffiliation lie in disagreement with specific JW practices and the freedom and hedonistic attractions offered by the secular world. It shows how disaffiliation was staged as a dynamic struggle for self as the ex-JWs swung between the secular attractions of freedom and hedonism, and the certainty and comfort of the religious community. Further, the article suggests that parental socialisation and the differences between those born into such movements and converts are important factors in understanding reasons for disaffiliation.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:age groups, fundamentalism, identity, Jehovah’s Witnesses, religion, religious disaffiliation, youth
Research Division:Human Society
Research Group:Sociology
Research Field:Sociology not elsewhere classified
Objective Division:Culture and Society
Objective Group:Ethics
Objective Field:Social ethics
UTAS Author:Hookway, NS (Dr Nicholas Hookway)
UTAS Author:Habibis, D (Associate Professor Daphne Habibis)
ID Code:82748
Year Published:2015 (online first 2013)
Web of Science® Times Cited:9
Deposited By:School of Social Sciences
Deposited On:2013-02-15
Last Modified:2017-01-16

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