|Occupation||Professor Emerita of Sociology|
|Organization||California State University, Chico|
Janja Lalich (b. 1945) is an American sociologist and writer. Lalich is best known as a foremost expert on cults and coercion, charismatic authority, power relations, ideology and social control. She is a professor emerita of sociology at the California State University, Chico.
Early life and education
The daughter of Serbian immigrants, Lalich was born in 1945. Lalich has a Ph.D. in Human and Organizational Systems from Fielding Graduate University in Santa Barbara, California. Beginning in the 1970s, Lalich spent around ten years as part of a radical Marxist-Leninist group, the Democratic Workers Party in California. She later came to realize that the group was a cult. Lalich recalls that during her time in the group she stored questions and doubts in the back of her mind, unable to express them. Lalich became a high-ranking member of the group working long hours with little contact outside the immediate members. She claims that ex-members were harassed and attacked and that she felt increasingly threatened. Eventually, the group dissolved and she was able to leave.
She is a recently retired professor in the sociology department of California State University, Chico, and has contributed several articles to academic journals on the subject of cults and religions. After her experiences in a radical political group that she identifies as a cult, she founded the Center for Research on Influence and Control. In her work, she describes the main features of a "totalistic" control group or cult: "They 'espouse an all-encompassing belief system', 'exhibit excessive devotion to the leader', 'avoid criticism of the group and its leader', and 'feel disdain for non-members'."
Lalich went on to write several books on the subject of cults, including her best known book, Bounded Choice (2004), based on Heaven's Gate. As a recognized international authority in the field, Lalich has also appeared in several court cases as an expert witness on coercive control or undue influence.
In 2007, Lalich was awarded the Margaret L. Singer Award: "for advancing the understanding of coercive persuasion, undue influence, and psychological manipulation" by the International Cultic Studies Association.
- Captive Hearts, Captive Minds
- Cults in Our Midst
- Crazy Therapies
- Misunderstanding Cults
- Take Back Your Life
- Escaping Utopia: Growing Up in a Cult, Getting Out, and Starting Over
- ^ a b Zablocki, Benjamin; Robbins, Thomas, eds. (1 November 2001). Misunderstanding Cults : Searching for objectivity in a controversial field. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. p. 522. ISBN 978-0802043733.
- ^ a b Wollan, Malia (26 September 2018). "How to Get Someone Out of a Cult". New York Times. Retrieved 26 September 2018.
- ^ Lalich, Janja. "The Violent Outcomes of Ideological Extremism: What Have We Learned Since Jonestown?". jonestown.sdsu.edu. Retrieved 17 October 2020.
- ^ Paoletta, Rae. "Women share their real-life horror stories of surviving a cult". Revelist. Retrieved 26 September 2018.
- ^ "Campus Directory". CSU, Chico. Retrieved 20 February 2015.
- ^ "Janja Lalich". ResearchGate. Retrieved 26 September 2018.
- ^ Al-sibai, Noor (21 June 2018). "Expert explains how Trump's GOP has turned into a cult". Raw Story. Retrieved 26 September 2018.
- ^ Taylor, Laurie. "Thinking Allowed: Charismatic cults". BBC Radio. Retrieved 26 September 2018.
- ^ Berman, Sarah. "Courts Are Rarely Kind to 'Brainwashed' Victims". Vice. Retrieved 26 September 2018.
- ^ Ashcraft, W. Michael (2018). A Historical Introduction to the Study of New Religious Movements. Routledge. pp. Chapter 4. ISBN 978-1351670838. Retrieved 4 October 2018.
- ^ "Awards". International Cultic Studies Association. Retrieved 4 October 2018.
YouTube - Why do people join cults? - Janja Lalich | TED-Ed
YouTube - Former Cult Member Answers Cult Questions From Twitter | Tech Support | WIRED
- 1945 births
- Living people
- Researchers of new religious movements and cults
- Critics of new religious movements
- American people of Serbian descent
- People from Chico, California
- California State University, Chico faculty
- American women sociologists
- Brainwashing theory proponents
- 21st-century American women
- Former Marxists