Robert Balch

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Robert William Balch
Born 1945
United States
Residence Montana, United States
Nationality American
Fields cults, new religious movements, sociology
Institutions University of Montana
Alma mater University of Oregon
Arizona State University

Robert William Balch is a sociologist from the University of Montana. Balch is best known for his studies of Heaven's Gate (with David Taylor), the Aryan Nations, and the Love Family.



  • Forthcoming, "The Rise and Fall of Aryan Nations: A Resource Mobilization Perspective." Journal of Political and Military Sociology.
  • 2003. "Heaven's Gate: Implications for the Study of Commitment to New Religions." pp. 122–237 in James R. Lewis, (ed.), Encyclopedic Sourcebook of UFO Religions. Amherst, NY: Prometheus. (co-author, David Taylor)
  • 2002. "Making Sense of the Heaven's Gate Suicides." pp. 209–228 in David G. Bromley and J. Gordon Melton (eds.), Cults, Religion, and Violence. New York: Cambridge University Press.
  • 1998 "How the Problem of Malfeasance Gets Overlooked in Studies of New Religions: An Examination of the AWARE Study of [CUT]," Robert W. Balch & Stephan Langdon in Wolves within the Fold. Anson Shupe, Ed. Rutgers.
  • 1977. "Seekers and Saucers: The Role of the Cultic Milieu in Joining a UFO Cult." Rob Balch & David Taylor. American Behavioral Scientist 20, no. 6 (1977), P. 839-60.
  • 1976 "Salvation in a UFO.", Robert W. Balch & David Taylor. Psychology Today 10

Selected courses[edit]

  • SOC 110: Principles of Sociology: Overview of the principles and concepts used in the study of human social interaction, groups, communities and societies.
  • SOC 130: Sociology of Alternative Religions: Unconventional religious groups in American society. Topics include recruitment, conversion, commitment, defection, leadership, belief systems, organizational structure and change.
  • SOC 201: Social Science Methods: Methods of research in the social sciences including naturalistic observation, interviewing, measurement, experiments, surveys, content analysis, and basic data analysis.
  • SOC 310: Extraordinary Group Behavior: The study of emergent social behavior including rumors, crowds, crazes, riots, panics, terrorism, revolutions and social movements.
  • SOC 488: Field Research Methods: The studying of people in their natural environment by observing what they do as they go about their everyday lives.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

  • Robert Balch, Professor, Department of Sociology, The University of Montana