From device to vice: Social control and intergroup conflict at Rajneeshpuram

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Social control and intergroup conflict at Rajneeshpuram, the commune built by the followers of Shree Rajneesh, was studied from a social-psychological perspective. Both qualitative and quantitative methods were employed. The leadership’s control was facilitated by the newness of the group and its belief system. Disciples believed that the leaders had a special understanding of Rajneesh’s vision and hence were susceptible to their influence. Structural characteristics, such as isolation, contributed to the leaders’ power and to the conflict with the surrounding community, as did the methods of internal control. Within the community maladaptive norms took on a life of their own and aided in the demise of Rajneeshpuram.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)363-378
Number of pages16
JournalSociology of Religion: A Quarterly Review
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1991

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Religious studies
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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