In the 1990s, some Western European countries published reports and established state agencies or state-sponsored information centres to deal with “cults”. Why did such an intriguing development occur? This phenomenon deserves attention, in order to understand the dynamics leading to concerns about some groups, especially in an historical context where state neutrality in religious matters has become increasingly emphasized.
Note: An initial version of this paper was presented in February 2014 at a conference in Istanbul that was part of the programme “New Religiosities in Turkey”, which is a collaborative research project of the Orient-Institut Istanbul (OII) and the Centre d’études turques, ottomanes, balkaniques et centrasiatiques at the EHESS in Paris. A similar, but partly different paper in French was presented in May 2015 at the Académie des sciences morales et politiques (Paris) and has been published separately.
Jean-François Mayer is the founder and chief editor of Religioscope. For additional biographical and bibliographical information: www.mayer.info.