Access

You are not currently logged in.

Access your personal account or get JSTOR access through your library or other institution:

login

Log in to your personal account or through your institution.

If you need an accessible version of this item please contact JSTOR User Support

The Limits of "Coercive Persuasion" as an Explanation for Conversion to Authoritarian Sects

Thomas Robbins and Dick Anthony
Political Psychology
Vol. 2, No. 2 (Summer, 1980), pp. 22-37
DOI: 10.2307/3790815
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3790815
Page Count: 16
  • Read Online (Free)
  • Cite this Item
If you need an accessible version of this item please contact JSTOR User Support
The Limits of "Coercive Persuasion" as an Explanation for Conversion to Authoritarian Sects
Preview not available

Abstract

This paper offers a critique of the application of models of "coercive persuasion" to processes of conversion and commitment within religious movements. Although models of coercive persuasion have a definite, if limited, heuristic value in the analysis of identity transformation within relatively authoritarian groups, current applications to "cults" have involved a number of distortions which appear to be related to the pejorative use of these models as conceptual weapons to legitimate coercive measures employed to "rescue" allegedly "brainwashed" devotees. Key problem areas include: (1) overgeneralized "cult" stereotypes; (2) implicit equation of religious movements with government-operated institutions employing forcible constraint (e.g., POW camps); (3) assumptions that persons subjected to certain persuasive techniques necessarily lack "free will"; and (4) methodological problems arising from exclusive or primary reliance upon the testimony of ex-converts who have negotiated their accounts in persuasive relationships with therapists or deprogrammers.

Page Thumbnails

  • Thumbnail: Page 
22
    22
  • Thumbnail: Page 
23
    23
  • Thumbnail: Page 
24
    24
  • Thumbnail: Page 
25
    25
  • Thumbnail: Page 
26
    26
  • Thumbnail: Page 
27
    27
  • Thumbnail: Page 
28
    28
  • Thumbnail: Page 
29
    29
  • Thumbnail: Page 
30
    30
  • Thumbnail: Page 
31
    31
  • Thumbnail: Page 
32
    32
  • Thumbnail: Page 
33
    33
  • Thumbnail: Page 
34
    34
  • Thumbnail: Page 
35
    35
  • Thumbnail: Page 
36
    36
  • Thumbnail: Page 
[37]
    [37]