Jehovah's Witnesses: Portrait of a Contemporary Religious Movement is the first major ethnographic study of this enigmatic religious society. Through rigorously investigated case histories based upon the real-life experiences of converts, believers and defectors, it describes how the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society seek to achieve conformity in devotees, and to construct meaningful religious identities in a world whose excesses it vehemently reviles. Examining the Jehovah's Witnesses' dramatic expansion over the last 130 years, Andrew Holden reveals the dependency of this quasi-totalitarian movement on the very physical and cultural resources which have brought about the privatisation of religion, the erosion of community and the separation of 'fact' from supernatural faith. Asking vital questions about the ambivalent relationship of spiritual meaning to modern secular materialism, Jehova's Witnesses reconsiders the Witnesses' ascetic faith at once as an inverted form of pseudo-corporate 'branding', and as an anti-modern quest for certainty in a hostile world of relativism and risk.
Andrew Holden (PH.D) has taught sociology at various levels of further and higher education. He has been conducting fieldwork on millenarian belief systems for over a decade.