|Born||January 19, 1941|
Brooklyn, New York, U.S.
|Died||April 6, 2020 (aged 79)|
New Jersey, U.S.
|Occupation||Professor of Sociology|
|Alma mater||Columbia University (BA)|
Johns Hopkins University (PhD)
Benjamin Zablocki (January 19, 1941 – April 6, 2020) was an American professor of sociology at Rutgers University where he taught sociology of religion and social psychology. He published widely on the subject of charismatic religious movements, cults, and brainwashing.
Early life and education
Born in Brooklyn, New York, Zablocki received his B.A. in mathematics from Columbia University in 1962 and his Ph.D. in social relations from the Johns Hopkins University in 1967, where he studied with James S. Coleman.
Zablocki defined a cult as “an ideological organization held together by charismatic relationships and demanding total commitment”  and advocated what he termed “the brainwashing hypothesis.” Other scholars, Zablocki noted, commonly mistake brainwashing for both a recruiting and a retaining process, when it is merely the latter. This misunderstanding enables critics of brainwashing to set up a straw-man, and thereby unfairly criticize the phenomenon of brainwashing. For evidence of the existence of brainwashing, Zablocki referred to the sheer number of testimonies from ex-members and even ex-leaders of cults. Zablocki further alleged that brainwashing has been unfairly "blacklisted" from the academic journals of sociology of religion. Such blacklisters, Zablocki asserted, receive lavish funding from alleged cults and engage in "corrupt" practices.
- The Joyful Community: An Account of the Bruderhof: A Communal Movement Now in Its Third Generation. Chicago: University of Chicago Press (1971, reissued 1980) ISBN 0226977498
- Alienation and Charisma: A Study of Contemporary American Communes. New York: The Free Press. (1980) ISBN 0029357802
- Misunderstanding Cults: Searching for Objectivity in a Controversial Field, Toronto, University of Toronto Press, 2001. w/ Thomas Robbins (Eds.) ISBN 0802081886
- “The Blacklisting of a Concept: The Strange History of the Brainwashing Conjecture in the Sociology of Religion” in Nova Religio (1997) 1 (1): 96–121 
- “Methodological Fallacies in Anthony's Critique of Exit Cost Analysis” in Cultic Studies Review, 4(2), 2005 
- “The Birth and Death of New Religious Movements” (ca. 2005) 
- “Ethics and the Modern Guru” (ca. 2016), an interview on brainwashing 
- Lucas, Phillip Charles; Robbins, Thomas, eds. (2009). New Religious Movements in the Twenty-first Century: Legal, Political, and Social Challenges in Global Perspective. New York: Routledge. p. 313. ISBN 978-0415965774.
- Oakes, Len, ed. (1997). Prophetic Charisma: The Psychology of Revolutionary Religious Personalities. Syracuse, New York: Syracuse University Press. pp. 158–159. ISBN 978-0815627005.
- Antes, Peter; Geertz, Armin W.; Warne, Randi Ruth, eds. (2004). New Approaches to the Study of Religion Vol 1: Regional, Critical, and Historical. Berlin, Germany: Walter de Gruyter GmbH & Co. p. 428. ISBN 978-3110176988.
- Zablocki, Benjamin. (October 1997). "The Blacklisting of a Concept: The Strange History of the Brainwashing Conjecture in the Sociology of Religion". Nova Religio. 1 (1): 96–121. doi:10.1525/nr.1922.214.171.124.
- Zablocki, Benjamin (2001). Misunderstanding Cults: Searching for Objectivity in a Controversial Field. U of Toronto Press. p. 176. ISBN 978-0802081889.
- Zablocki, Benjamin (2001). Misunderstanding Cults: Searching for Objectivity in a Controversial Field. U of Toronto Press. pp. 194–201. ISBN 978-0802081889.
- Quotations related to Benjamin Zablocki at Wikiquote