|Born||January 19, 1941|
Brooklyn, New York, U.S.
|Died||April 6, 2020 (aged 79)|
New Jersey, U.S.
|Occupation||Professor of Sociology|
|Alma mater||Columbia University (BA)|
Johns Hopkins University (PhD)
Benjamin Zablocki (January 19, 1941 - April 6, 2020) was an American professor of sociology at Rutgers University where he taught sociology of religion and social psychology. He published widely on the subject of charismatic religious movements, cults, and brainwashing.
Born in Brooklyn, New York, Zablocki received his B.A. in mathematics from Columbia University in 1962 and his Ph.D. in social relations from the Johns Hopkins University in 1967, where he studied with James S. Coleman.
Zablocki was a supporter of what he called 'the brainwashing hypothesis'. Other scholars, Zablocki noted, commonly mistake brainwashing for both a recruiting and a retaining process, when it is merely the latter. This misunderstanding enables critics of brainwashing to set up a straw-man, and thereby unfairly criticize the phenomenon of brainwashing. For evidence of the existence of brainwashing, Zablocki refers to the sheer number of testimonies from ex-members and even ex-leaders of cults. Zablocki further alleges that brainwashing has been unfairly "blacklisted" from the academic journals of sociology of religion. Such blacklisters, Zablocki asserts, receive lavish funding from alleged cults and engage in "corrupt" practices.