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Violence and New Religious Movements$
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James R. Lewis

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199735631

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199735631.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.oxfordscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2019. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 19 October 2019

Reciprocal Totalism

Reciprocal Totalism

The Toxic Interdependence of Anticult and Cult Violence

Chapter:
(p.63) 3 Reciprocal Totalism
Source:
Violence and New Religious Movements
Author(s):

Dick Anthony

Thomas Robbins

Steven Barrie-Anthony

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199735631.003.0003

Religio-ideological totalism entails an absolute division of humanity into dual categories such as saved/damned, human/subhuman, and godly/demonic. Totalistic “cults” are not necessarily violent, but the psychology of totalism features an impulse to validate an absolute worldview by confronting demonized exemplars of evil as contrast symbols. Anticult confrontations of totalistic movements may themselves take a totalistic and hence persecutory form. This chapter discusses research that documents a cycle of increasing totalization of both the group and the countergroup response, which may escalate out of control to the point that it triggers a violent denouement.

Keywords:   psychoanalytic, totalism begets totalism, Singer, Lifton, Erikson, cult and anticult violence, pseudospeciation, projective identification, splitting, deviance amplification

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