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Reciprocity-Based Moral Sanctions And Messianic Salvation

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Chapter Summary

This chapter suggests a theoretical clue to understanding the experience of messianic 'salvation'. A link was sought between moral sanctions as resources for charismatic manipulation on the one hand and the internalized norm of reciprocity, on the other, as a basis for generating moral sanctions. It was hypothesized that the irreversibly unbalanced state of reciprocity gives rise to four types of moral sanctions: guilt, gratitude, indignation, and self-righteousness. Vulnerable to charismatic persuasion are two negative sanctions: guilt as self-disapproval on the part of the debtor, and indignation as other-disapproval on the part of the creditor. Four directions of manipulation of guilt and indignation were identified: reciprocation, reversal, neutralization, and moralization. Charismatic leadership was found here in the self-appointed 'messiah', founder of the sect who has visited Hawaii occasionally and exerted a strong personal influence on her local followers.

Keywords: creditor; debtor; Hawaii; messianic salvation; reciprocity-based moral sanctions



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