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Faculty Image Robert Balch
Office: Social Sciences 325
Phone: 406-243-2982


Current Position:


Field Of Study:

New religious movements, collective behavior, deviance

Research Interests:

How new religions originate and change over time; commitment-building processes; conversion and defection; charismatic leadership


SPRING 2016:

SOCI 130: Sociology of Alternative Religions


B.A. Sociology, Arizona State University, 1966

M.A. Sociology, Arizona State University, 1968

Ph.D. Sociology, University of Oregon, 1972

Selected Publications:

Robert W. Balch. 1982. "Bo and Peep: A Case Study of the Origins of Messianic Leadership." Pp. 13-72 in Millennialism and Charisma, edited by Roy Wallis. Belfast: The Queen’s University.

Robert W. Balch, Gwen Farnsworth, and Sue Wilkins. 1983. "When the Bombs Drop: Reactions to Disconfirmed Prophecy in a Millennial Sect." Sociological Perspectives 26:136-158.

Robert W. Balch. 1995. "Charisma and Corruption in the Love Family: Toward a Theory of Corruption Charismatic Cults." Pp. 155-179 in Sex, Lies, and Sanctity: Religion and Deviance in Contemporary North America, edited by Mary Jo Neitz and Marion Goldman. Greenwich, CT: JAI Press.

Robert W. Balch, John Domitrovich, Barbara Mahnke, and Vanessa Morrison. 1997. "Fifteen Years of Failed Prophecy: Coping with Cognitive Dissonance in a Baha’i Sect." In Millennium, Messiahs, and Mayhem, edited by Thomas Robbines and Susan Palmer. London: Routledge.

Robert W. Balch. 1999. "Making Sense of the Heaven’s Gate Suicides." Pp. 109-228 in Cults, Religion, and Violence, edited by David G. Bromley and J. Gordon Melton. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Robert W. Balch. 2006. "The Rise and Fall of Aryan Nations: A Resource Mobilization Perspective." Journal of Political and Military Sociology 34 (summer): 81-113.

Robert W. Balch and David Taylor. 2011. "Seekers and Saucers: The Role of the Cultic Milieu in Joining a UFO Cult." In Heaven’s Gate: Postmodernity and Popular Culture in a Suicide Group, edited by George Chryssides. Farnham: Ashgate.