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This is the first of two programmes about a sociological investigation of a Religious Sect, the Unification Church, popularly known as the 'Moonies'. The researcher is Dr. Eileen Barker, lecturer i...n Sociology at the L.S.E. Dr. Barker's main concern has been to try to understand why people join the Moonies and why they stay in the Church. The programme shows her talking to sect members about her research and participating in religious and other activities at the Moonies' farm in Wiltshire. Most of what has been written or shown on television about the Moonies has been concerned with why people leave and has tended to concentrate on interviews with disillusioned sect members. Dr. Barker is unique in having been able to study the Church from the inside and this film is probably the only one showing something of the everyday life of its members. As Dr. Barker explains in the film there are methodological problems in getting too involved with the people you are studying but it's also necessary to try to understand how they see the world.
Metadata describing this Open University video programme
Module code and title: D207, An introduction to sociology
Item code: D207; 01
First transmission date: 08-03-1981
Published: 1981
Rights Statement:
Restrictions on use:
Duration: 00:24:36
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Producer: Nell Smith
Contributors: Eileen Barker; Gill Clark; Mike Marshall
Publisher: BBC Open University
Keyword(s): Moonies; Religion; Sociology
Footage description: The programme begins with news film of a rally of the Unification Church; the Rev. Sung Yung Moon is shown preaching. Shots of people protesting against the 'Moonies'. Eileen Barker is shown handing out leaflets on the street. In a voiceover she explains why she wanted to study the 'Moonies' and how she sees her role in studying them. Shots of Eileen arriving at the Church's country centre. She joins in with 'family' members as they sing and say grace before a meal. Mike Marshall introduces Eileen to the group, and explains about her research to those members present who were unaware of her work. Eileen then explains about the questionnaire which she wants to give to the Church members. She then answers questions from the members about the nature of the research. In particular she explains why she needs to use a questionnaire and a long interview in her work and the significance of participant observation. Shots of Eileen attending a lecture about the Divine Principle. In a voiceover Eileen explains why she was invited to do the research by the Church. She had listened to them and allowed them to define what was significant. Shots of church members singing before a meal. Eileen describes what she has done to participate in the church and how she has adapted in order to fit in with the members. Shots of Eileen washing up in the kitchen and talking to one of the 'sisters' about why she became a 'Moonie'. Eileen explains how she has been accepted by the church members. Shots of her having her hair cut and talking about the Church's publications. She then describes some of the problems involved in participant observation and how constant contact with the members had also changed her. She explains that she keeps a diary to maintain a check upon these types of influences. Shots of her selling programmes for a rally on the street. Shots of people queuing outside the Albert Hall; Dennis Orme is seen preaching about Satan. People are shown arguing outside the Hall. Shots of gospel singers. Eileen Barker sums up her approach to the Church.
Production number: FOUD055X
Videofinder number: 30
Available to public: no