Bounded Choice

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Bounded Choice
Bounded Choice, book cover.jpg
Cover of the first edition
Author Janja Lalich
Country United States
Language English
Subject Cults
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 that was written by Janja Lalich and published by University of California Press in 2004.

Lalich had previously studied Heaven's Gate and the Democratic Workers Party for her doctoral dissertation entitled "Bounded Choice: The Fusion of Personal Freedom and Self-Renunciation in Two Transcendent Groups",[1] and that research was incorporated into the book.[2]

Lalich's methodologies were influenced by the work of Anthony Giddens, Herbert Simon and Robert Lifton.[3] Heaven's Gate, a UFO religion, was 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; Robbins, Thomas (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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