Definitions of Cult
- (noun) A relatively small group that excessively controls its members, whom share set of acts and practices which require unwavering devotion, and are considered deviant (outside the norms of society), and typically led by a charismatic and often self-appointed leader.
- (noun) A individual, group, or object with a relatively small, but devoted fan-base and supporters.
Examples of Cult
- Definition 1:
- Definition 2:
- Plural: cults
- The definition of cult is contested, particularly the difference between a cult and a religion. Importantly, a cult as sociologically defined does not need to be religiously based (i.e., health, philosophy, politics, therapeutic) but requires “religious” devotion.
- Cults are typically hierarchical, that uses formal and informal practices to socialize members. Often, cults work similarly as pyramid schemes and grooms vulnerable people to join through coercion and peer pressure.
- Cultbusters try to stop cults.
- Cybercults are Internet-based cults.
- Cult figures (e.g., cult leaders) have a cult following and typically exhibit charismatic authority.
- Works of art can achieve cult status.
- Also called:
- religious cult
- A (noun) cultist is a member of cult and a practitioner of (noun) cultistism with (adjective) cultic or (adjective) cultish or (adjective) cult-like beliefs.
- Religion Resources – Books, Journals, and Helpful Links
- Word origin of “cult” – Online Etymology Dictionary: etymonline.com
- charismatic authority
- new social movement theory
- total institution
Abercrombie, Nicholas, Stephen Hill, and Bryan Turner. 2006. The Penguin Dictionary of Sociology. 5th ed. London: Penguin.
Andersen, Margaret L., and Howard Francis Taylor. 2011. Sociology: The Essentials. 6th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.
Brinkerhoff, David, Lynn White, Suzanne Ortega, and Rose Weitz. 2011. Essentials of Sociology. 8th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.
Ferrante, Joan. 2011. Sociology: A Global Perspective. 7th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.
Griffiths, Heather, Nathan Keirns, Eric Strayer, Susan Cody-Rydzewski, Gail Scaramuzzo, Tommy Sadler, Sally Vyain, Jeff Bry, Faye Jones. 2016. Introduction to Sociology 2e. Houston, TX: OpenStax.
Henslin, James M. 2012. Sociology: A Down-to-Earth Approach. 10th ed. Boston: Allyn & Bacon.
Hughes, Michael, and Carolyn J. Kroehler. 2011. Sociology: The Core. 10th ed. New York: McGraw-Hill.
Kendall, Diana. 2011. Sociology in Our Times. 8th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.
Kimmel, Michael S., and Amy Aronson. 2012. Sociology Now. Boston: Allyn & Bacon.
Kornblum, William. 2008. Sociology in a Changing World. 8th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.
Macionis, John. 2012. Sociology. 14th ed. Boston: Pearson.
Macionis, John, and Kenneth Plummer. 2012. Sociology: A Global Introduction. 4th ed. Harlow, England: Pearson Education.
Marsh, Ian, and Mike Keating, eds. 2006. Sociology: Making Sense of Society. 3rd ed. Harlow, England: Pearson Education.
Merriam-Webster. (N.d.) Merriam-Webster Dictionary. (http://www.merriam-webster.com/).
Oxford University Press. (N.d.) Oxford Dictionaries. (https://www.oxforddictionaries.com/).
Princeton University. 2010. WordNet. (https://wordnet.princeton.edu/).
Schaefer, Richard. 2013. Sociology: A Brief Introduction. 10th ed. New York: McGraw-Hill.
Shepard, Jon M. 2010. Sociology. 11th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.
Shepard, Jon M., and Robert W. Greene. 2003. Sociology and You. New York: Glencoe.
Stewart, Paul, and Johan Zaaiman, eds. 2015. Sociology: A Concise South African Introduction. Cape Town: Juta.
Thompson, William E., and Joseph V. Hickey. 2012. Society in Focus: An Introduction to Sociology. 7th ed. Boston: Allyn & Bacon.
Tischler, Henry L. 2011. Introduction to Sociology. 10th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.
Wikipedia contributors. (N.d.) Wiktionary, The Free Dictionary. Wikimedia Foundation. (http://en.wiktionary.org).
ASA – American Sociological Association (5th edition)
Bell, Kenton, ed. 2013. “cult.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Retrieved August 24, 2019 (https://sociologydictionary.org/cult/).
APA – American Psychological Association (6th edition)
cult. (2013). In K. Bell (Ed.), Open education sociology dictionary. Retrieved from https://sociologydictionary.org/cult/
Chicago/Turabian: Author-Date – Chicago Manual of Style (16th edition)
Bell, Kenton, ed. 2013. “cult.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Accessed August 24, 2019. https://sociologydictionary.org/cult/.
MLA – Modern Language Association (7th edition)
“cult.” Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Ed. Kenton Bell. 2013. Web. 24 Aug. 2019. <https://sociologydictionary.org/cult/>.