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Relative Deprivation

This refers to a situation in which one person lacks what referent others have, especially if this leads to frustration and a sense of injustice.  This is a classic explanation for the sociodemographic composition of church-sect dimensions, suggesting that sects compensate people psychologically for relative deprivation.  This compensation often comes in the form of ideological exclusivity, group strictness to maintain exclusivity, and religious experiences.

Citations:

Bainbridge, William Sims. 1997. The Sociology of Religious Movements. New York, NY: Routledge.

The following are possible measures of Relative Deprivation that can be created using data from theARDA.com
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This measure assesses the makeup of a religious group with reference to its social class, usually in the form of income or education levels.  Given that the measure is aimed at understanding group-level attributes, it is found in data sets at the congregational level or in data sets that ask individuals to estimate certain things about their congregation.
    Examples  
Several files in theARDA's Data Archive have examples of this Measure.
BAPct - National Congregations Study
PoorPct - National Congregations Study
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This measure approximates the extent to which respondents' religious beliefs about salvation are inclusive or exclusive of those unlike them. View related items in the Measurement Wizard:
    Examples  
Several files in the ARDA's Data Archive have examples of this Measure.
Q25 - 2005 Baylor Religion Survey
Saved - 2004 America's Evangelicals Survey
OnlyHope - 2000 Lilly Survey of Attitudes and Social Networks
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Respondents reveal whether or not they have had certain religious experiences. View related items in the Measurement Wizard:
    Examples  
Several files in theARDA's Data Archive have examples of this Measure.
Reborn - 2006 General Social Survey FeelGod - 2004 General Social Survey NumRelEx - 2004 General Social Survey SP_1 - Panel Study of American Religion and Ethnicity Tongues2 - Spirit and Power: A 10-Country Survey of Pentecostals Q28 - 2005 Baylor Religion Survey
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Proponents of this perspective posit that stricter churches reduce free riding, or the ability of members to belong yet not contribute to the group. This concept is generally considered to be part of a religious economies approach to religion because it employs assumptions derived from economics regarding the relationship between individual and group behavior, but there is a distinctive research literature focusing on strictness as an intra-organizational dimension.  Kelley (1972) posited three primary aspects of strictness: 1) ideological; 2) lifestyle or behavioral; 3) policing. The theory undergirding the concept predicts that strict religious groups will tend to retain members and foster ongoing commitment, while more lenient churches will tend to lose members and exhibit lower levels of commitment. At present, there is not a standard strategy for operationalizing and empirically assessing the concept of strictness.  Although Iannaccone (1994) used the opinions of "experts," a more objective approach has been to examine the number of behavioral restrictions made on adherents. There is also a potential avenue of research that examines the micro sociological mechanisms of strict religious organizations from the group processes and symbolic interaction perspectives.  Other current shortcomings in this perspective are the under-specified nature of the connection between strictness and tension with the surrounding cultural environment, and often these terms are incorrectly used interchangeably (Tamney 2005). View related items in the Measurement Wizard:  
Related Theories To This Concept
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