Dandelion, P. Books1996 0-7734-8807-3
This book represents the first major sociological investigation into present-day Quakerism in Britain. Its main focus is how belief has become individuated within the group and the consequences of this postmodern condition. It is argued that Quakers in Britain have become post-Christian, and that unity and cohesion are provided by adherence to a behavioral creed, that a liberal belief culture operates alongside a conservative and conformist culture. The relationship between these two aspects of the Quaker double-culture is explored, as is the way aspects of the behavioral creed, especially the sacralisation of silence, have accommodated and promoted a paradigmatic shift in the nature of Quaker theology in the last thirty years, a silent revolution. The study examines alternative ways in which membership of a group can be constructed, at how apparently contradictory sets of values can be accommodated within a single culture, how liberalism can be both promoted and constrained simultaneously, and how organisational change can occur without any explicit or common agreement over the nature of change. This book will interest specialists in Quaker studies, those in the study of sects and denominations, and those involved in the wider sociology of religion and in organisational studies.