Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science



First Advisor

Stephen Lyng


Within the last two decades, the United States has witnessed the growth of a phenomenon which the media has referred to as "The New Age Movement". This multi-faceted social pattern includes astrology, meditation, mysticism, and eastern philosophies, the popularity of which have increased significantly in the 1980's. This thesis is a case study of the "New Age Movement". First, I develop a descriptive model of the key ideological themes and organizational structures of this social pattern. Subsequently, I organize this model in terms of several sociologically based theoretical frameworks including activity fads, social movements, and sociocultural shifts, in order to provide the most appropriate classification system. The results suggest that a synthetic model which utilizes elements of each of the individual perspectives is the most useful framework for analyzing a social pattern that is as broad and complex as "The New Age Movement".


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