Quaker Studies

Adolescent Quakers: A Hidden Sect?*

Quaker Studies (2008), 13, (1), 103–113.

Abstract

This paper uses British Quakers as a case study to illustrate how very different perspectives on group identity pertain between the adult group and Quaker youth. While the older Quakers see the young Quakers as a part of ‘their’ group, the adolescents do not feel the same level of affinity with older Quakers. This paper examines the sectarian nature of both groups and argues that while both groups have sect-like characteristics the sectarian nature of the two groups is differently configured. It argues that the adult group fails to acknowledge the adolescent group as a separate sect within the sect which results in it remaining hidden to all but its own members and ensures its continuing cultural, institutional and theological marginalisation. This paper argues that the study of youth and religion can be confused by scholars who misread the nature of the relationship between the youth and their ‘parent’ church.

Adolescent Quakers: A Hidden Sect?*

Abstract

This paper uses British Quakers as a case study to illustrate how very different perspectives on group identity pertain between the adult group and Quaker youth. While the older Quakers see the young Quakers as a part of ‘their’ group, the adolescents do not feel the same level of affinity with older Quakers. This paper examines the sectarian nature of both groups and argues that while both groups have sect-like characteristics the sectarian nature of the two groups is differently configured. It argues that the adult group fails to acknowledge the adolescent group as a separate sect within the sect which results in it remaining hidden to all but its own members and ensures its continuing cultural, institutional and theological marginalisation. This paper argues that the study of youth and religion can be confused by scholars who misread the nature of the relationship between the youth and their ‘parent’ church.


Details

Author details

Best, Simon