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Religious Conversion And Elimination Of The Sick Role: A Japanese Sect In Hawaii

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Chapter Summary

This chapter explores possible relations between religious commitment and healing phenomena, with special attention to the redefined sick role. Religious commitment here specifically refers to conversion to a new sect which involves intense interaction between the candidate and proselytizer for conversion, exclusive membership in the sect, sustained participation in the sect's collective action, and rigorous conformity to the sectarian norms. The sect studied is formally called Tensho Kotai Jingu Kyo. The analysis presented here is based on a year-long field research on Tensho converts in Hawaii. The data were collected through interviews with fifty-five Honolulu members over thirty years old and through observation of collective activities at local branch meetings. The general desirability of the sick role is described and eliminated through Tensho conversion. Elimination of desirability can be analyzed from two points of view: change in expectation of dependency and gregariousness and vested interest in exemplary well-being.

Keywords: Hawaii; Honolulu members; Tenshō converts; Tenshō Kōtai Jingu Kyō



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