Emile Durkheim’s initial reaction upon viewing the film would be much more of a bored look rather than surprise or agitation. He is more focused on his study of society as dispassionate and scientific, so his point of view regarding religion portrayed in the film wouldn’t be much about belief on the religion’s actual tenets (EmileDurkheim.com, 2002). He would appreciate though, how it was able to portray the children of the Kids on Fire Camp, as it clearly depicts them as an important part of the social structure. For him, religion is an expression of social cohesion, so his focus wouldn’t be on issues of faith and beliefs.
The “Kids on Fire” is more of a cult because it takes advantage of the children’s innocence in order to implant the leader’s ideas and ideology. In B.F. Skinner’s behavior analysis of child development, the socialization process of kids the age of those in the camp is greatly affected by their teachers and their peers, both with reinforcement and punishment to strengthen the process (Boeree, 2006). The members of the camp were expected to follow what is being taught, because if they don’t, there is a feeling of neglect, since they’re far from their parents, only with the camp’s manager to look at them.
The leadership style shown in the film was more of a participative and delegative leadership (Clark, 1997). This is manifested by the camp manager, Becky Fisher, along with her Ministry, the Kids in Ministry International. It is participative in a sense that Becky Fisher is also involved in the activities being done by the campers. She acts as both the custodian and the guide of these children. She doesn’t assert her opinions, but she certainly directs them to exactly what she wanted, in the aspect of religion. Fisher is also delegative in a sense that she allows the kids to decide on what to do, though she is still responsible for the decisions being made by the children in the camp. She sets tasks to everyone, but in the end she is the one who can decide how the camp should be run.
Boeree, C. G. (2006). B. F. Skinner. Retrieved June 23, 2008, from http://webspace.ship.edu/cgboer/skinner.html
Clark, D. (1997). Leadership Styles. Retrieved June 23, 2008, from http://www.nwlink.com/~Donclark/leader/leadstl.html
EmileDurkheim.com. (2002). Emile Durkheim (1858-1917). Retrieved June 23, 2008, from http://www.emile-durkheim.com/