Revitalization Movements:
Seeks to maintain some level of sovereignty in face of assimilation by altering own core cultural values.


“Deliberate, organized attempt by some members of a society to construct a more satisfying culture by rapid acceptance of a pattern of multiple innovations.”   (Anthony F. C. Wallace 1970: 188)

 1.  Steady State: cultural vitality and stasis; aspirations rendered accessible and are generally met.

 2. Period of Increased Personal and Societal Stress (conquest, climatic, disease, war, internal disruption, etc.): fluctuation of the steady state.

 3. Period of Relative and/or Absolute Cultural Deprivation: socio-economic, political and religious institutions collapse; cultural and personal aspirations unobtainable and unfulfilled; personal and societal dysfunction; institutional deviance.

 4. Period of Revitalization: Prerequisites for success

 a. Formulate New Code (religious, political, economic, or technological, etc.): formulate a new cultural code and utopian ideals; new dream and the means to obtain (religious via prophetic revelation or political/economic via doctrinal thesis; and return to an utopian dream or reformulate a new utopian dream)

b. Communicate Code: often characterized by evangelistic zeal, with promises of immediate or future benefits and rewards, and if refuse to accept the new code, spiritual and/or material peril (you are either with us or against us)

c. Triad Organization of a Charismatic Formulator, Disciples, Converts: 1. charismatic formulator granted authoritarian privilege though with little organizational skills; visionary; 2. disciples who organize the revitalization movement; administer programs; protect the formulator; interpret his/her message to the people; combat heresy; pragmatic; and 3. converts, the “true believers.”

d. Adaptation and Societal Transformation: adjust to internal order and external resistance (clarify and redefine the goals and the means), (communicate the code and dream usually evangelistic zeal; obtain and secure communication networks and power bases, i.e., economic, military, religious sanctioning; obtain converts with promises of benefits and threats of peril if refuse to accept), (institute moral sanctioning of conversion, subversion and possibly violence to obtain ultimate societal goals, i.e., mobilize people in a “holy war” or revolution)

e.   Routinization: : charismatic leader deified and replaced by organizational administrators and bureaucratic structures that seek status quo and resist change; from “cult to church,” from “radicals to government”

5.  New Steady State: newly formed spiritual, economic and/or political culture and stasis with aspirations rendered accessible to people; deviance and dysfunction greatly reduced.  Examples: Handsome Lake Religion (Seneca), Ghost Dance Religion (Plains, failed attempt), Peyote Religion - Native American Church (widespread).


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