Bounded Choice

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Bounded Choice
Bounded Choice
Author Janja Lalich
Country United States
Language English
Subject Cults
Genre nonfiction
Publisher University of California Press
Publication date
September 15, 2004
Media type Paperback
Pages 353
ISBN 0-520-24018-9
OCLC 54046983
306/.1 22
LC Class BP605.H36 L35 2004
Preceded by Captive Hearts, Captive Minds,
Cults in Our Midst

Bounded Choice: True Believers and Charismatic Cults is a nonfiction psychology book on cults, by Janja Lalich, Ph.D., published by University of California Press in 2004.

Lalich had previously published her Ph.D. dissertation on "Bounded Choice: The Fusion of Personal Freedom and Self-Renunciation in Two Transcendent Groups."[1] That study was of Heaven's Gate and the Democratic Workers Party, and was incorporated into the book.[2]

Lalich's methodologies were influenced by the work of Anthony Giddens, Herbert A. Simon and Robert Jay Lifton.[3] Heaven's Gate, a UFO religion, is used as a model for analyzing the cult structure.[2][4]

Marion Harmon wrote that: "Lalich’s research culminated in a new theory to explain how the combination of ideology, social structure, and commitment constrains the choice of true believers."[4]


  1. ^ Lalich, Janja., "Bounded Choice: The Fusion of Personal Freedom and Self-Renunciation in Two Transcendent Groups." Ph.D. dissertation., Santa Barbara, California, Fielding Institute., 2000.
  2. ^ a b Zablocki, Benjamin; Thomas Robbins (2001). Misunderstanding Cults (book). University of Toronto Press. p. 522. ISBN 0-8020-8188-6. 
  3. ^ Lorne L. Dawson, American Journal of Sociology, vol.111, part 1 (2005), pg. 663–665
  4. ^ a b Marion Harmon, Demystifying Cults, Chico Statements, California State University.

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