Benjamin Zablocki

American sociologist

Benjamin David Zablocki (born January 19, 1941) is an American sociologist and professor of sociology at Rutgers University where he teaches sociology of religion and social psychology.


  • Brainwashing is defined as an observable set of transactions between a charismatically-structured collectivity and an isolated agent of the collectivity with the goal of transforming the agent into a deployable agent. Brainwashing is thus a process of ideological resocialization carried out within a structure of charismatic authority.
    • Thomas Robbins, ‎Benjamin David Zablocki (2001) Misunderstanding Cults: Searching for Objectivity in a Controversial Field. p. 183
  • I am convinced, based on more than three decades of studying NRMs through participant-observation and through interviews with both members and ex-members, that these movements have unleashed social and psychological forces of truly awesome power. These forces have wreaked havoc in many lives - in both adults and in children. It is these social and psychological influence processes that the social scientist has both the right and the duty to try to understand, regardless of whether such understanding will ultimately prove helpful or harmful to the cause of religious liberty. … the real sociological issue ought not to be whether brainwashing ever occurs but rather whether it occurs frequently enough to be considered an important social problem.
    • Benjamin Zablocki (1997) The Blacklisting of a Concept: The Strange History of the Brainwashing Conjecture in the Sociology of Religion. (online)
  • Mind control is the process by which individual or collective freedom of choice and action is compromised by agents or agencies that modify or distort perception, motivation, affect, cognition and/or behavioral outcomes. It is neither magical nor mystical, but a process that involves a set of basic social psychological principles. … It seems to me that at the very heart of the controversy over the existence of mind control is a bias toward believing in the power of people to resist the power of situational forces, a belief in individual will power and faith to overcome all evil adversity. It is Jesus modeling resistance against the temptations of Satan, and not the vulnerability of Adam and Eve to deception. More recently, examples abound that challenge this person-power misattribution.
    • Benjamin Zablocki (2002); As cited in: Herbert W Simons, PH.D., ‎Jean Jones (2011) Persuasion and Contemporary Culture. p. 343
Wikipedia has an article about: