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Lalich's fascinating discussion includes her in-depth interviews with cult devotees as well as reflections gained from her own experience as a high-ranking member of the Democratic Workers Party. Incorporating classical sociological concepts such as "charisma" and "commitment" with more recent work on the social psychology of influence and control, she develops a new approach for understanding how charismatic cult leaders are able to dominate their devotees. She shows how members are led into a state of "bounded choice," in which they make seemingly irrational decisions within a context that makes perfect sense to them and is, in fact, consistent with their highest aspirations.
In addition to illuminating the cult phenomenon in the United States and around the world, this important book also addresses our pressing need to know more about the mentality of those true believers who take extreme or violent measures in the name of a cause.
|1||Introduction : cults and true believers||1|
|2||Gurus, seers, and new agers||25|
|3||The beginning : "the two" arrive||42|
|4||Evolution of the charismatic community||63|
|6||Revolutionaries, rebels, and activists||113|
|7||The founding of the democratic workers party||126|
|8||The cadre formation||149|
|9||Decline and fall||193|
|10||The true believer : the fusion of personal freedom and self-renunciation||221|
|11||Bounded choice : cult formation and the development of the true believer||247|