19.9.17

Getting Out

Janja Lalich, Karla McLaren. Escaping Utopia: Growing Up in a Cult, Getting Out, and Starting Over. Routledge (30 Aug 2017
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Actor Michelle Pfeiffer. Humorist Garrison Keillor. Actor Joaquin Phoenix. Musician Lisa Marie Presley. Actress Glenn Close. Wikileaks founder Julian Assange. Actress Rose McGowan. Each of these well-known people has more than fame in common; each was born or raised in a cult. We think of cults as bizarre, inexplicable, or otherworldly places that only strange people inhabit, but cults and other abusive and high-demand groups (and relationships) are actually quite commonplace. In fact, the behaviors, social pressures, and authoritarian structures that create cults exist to a greater or lesser extent in every human relationship and every human group. 

Cult behaviour is human behaviour – and by studying cults, we can learn remarkably useful things about the social world and our place in it. n the first in-depth research of its kind, sociologist and cult expert Janja Lalich interviewed sixty-five people who were born in or grew up in thirty-nine different cultic groups spanning more than a dozen countries. What’s especially interesting about these individuals is that they each left the cult on their own, without outside help or internal support. In Escaping Utopia: Growing Up in a Cult, Getting Out, and Starting Over, Lalich and award-winning author (and fellow cult survivor) Karla McLaren craft Lalich’s original and groundbreaking research into an accessible and engaging book, the first of its kind focusing on this particular population. Lalich and McLaren explore fundamental questions about human nature, human development, group dynamics, abuse and control, and triumphs of the human spirit in the face of intense and extended suffering.