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Cults (Key Ideas)

Cults (Key Ideas)

Current price: $26.95
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Publication Date: June 27th, 2024
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This engaging text introduces readers to the sociology of cults. Covering the history and current state of cult studies, this book includes topics ranging from doomsday cults and new religious movements through to self-help cults, the cult of celebrity, intellectuals, and entrepreneurs. Case studies as varied as David Koresh and the Branch Davidians, the Manson family, and the cult brands of Elon Mask, Andrew Tate and Jordan Peterson are deployed to shed new light on cult formation in the twenty-first century.

Amidst the rise of populist demagogues, the online radicalisation of alienated individuals, and the proliferation of celebrities and gurus with avid followings, cult dynamics are everywhere in society. Yet key urgent questions have not been clearly and concisely addressed: What are cults? Why do they emerge? How are they established and maintained? What is the future of cults, and why are we so fascinated by them? This book explores these questions by tracing the spectrum of cult formation historically and in today's networked media ecosystem.

This accessible introduction to the darkly fascinating world of cults is essential reading for academics and students of sociology, social psychology, religion, politics, business and cultural studies, and anyone interested in understanding the relationship between cults and society.

About the Author

Stephanie Alice Baker is Reader in Sociology at City, University of London, UK. Her research studies self-help and wellness cultures, particularly the role of new media technologies in creating communities and spreading false and misleading health information online. In 2021, she was invited by the UK Parliament to provide evidence on radicalisation, terrorism and extremism, and she continues to assist policymakers in their efforts to reduce and respond to mis/disinformation online. She is the author of Social Tragedy: The Power of Myth, Ritual, and Emotion in the New Media Ecology (2014); Wellness Culture: How the Wellness Movement Has Been Used to Empower, Profit and Misinform (2022); and co-author of Lifestyle Gurus: Constructing Authority and Influence Online (2019). Eugene McLaughlin is Professor of Criminology and Co-Director of the Centre for Criminal Justice and Human Rights at City, University of London, UK. His current research focuses on institutional scandals, 'trial by media, ' high profile crimes and cultism. He has also written widely on the politics of policing and the history and development of critical criminology. He is author of Community, Policing and Accountability (2023); co-author of Understanding Deviance: A Guide to the Sociology of Crime and Rule-Breaking (7th edition, 2016); and co-editor of The SAGE Dictionary of Criminology (4th edition, 2019), and Criminological Perspectives (3rd edition, 2013). Chris Rojek is Professor of Sociology at City, University of London, UK. His research interests include the sociology of culture, celebrity, leisure and tourism, and social theory. He is the author of Fame Attack: The Inflation of Celebrity and Its Consequences (2012); Event Power: How Global Events Manage and Manipulate (2013); and Presumed Intimacy: Parasocial Interaction in Media, Society and Celebrity Culture (2015). He is also co-author of Lifestyle Gurus: Constructing Authority and Influence Online (2019); and editor of Event Management (4 volumes, Routledge, 2013).