Robert Balch

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Robert Balch bigraphy, stories - American sociologist

Robert Balch : biography

1945 –

Robert William Balch is a sociologist from the University of Montana. Balch is best known for his studies of Heaven’s Gate (with David Taylor), the Aryan Nations, and the Love Family.

Selected courses

  • SOC 110: Principles of Sociology: Overview of the principles and concepts used in the study of human social interaction, groups, communities and societies.
  • SOC 130: Sociology of Alternative Religions: Unconventional religious groups in American society. Topics include recruitment, conversion, commitment, defection, leadership, belief systems, organizational structure and change.
  • SOC 201: Social Science Methods: Methods of research in the social sciences uncluding naturalistic observation, interviewing, measurement, experiments, surveys, content analysis, and basic data analysis.
  • SOC 310: Extraordinary Group Behavior: The study of emergent social behavior including rumors, crowds, crazes, riots, panics, terrorism, revolutions and social movements.
  • SOC 488: Field Research Methods: The studying of people in their natural environment by observing what they do as they go about their everyday lives.

Education

  • Ph.D., Sociology, University of Oregon, 1972
  • M.A., Sociology, Arizona State University, 1968
  • B.A., Sociology, Arizona State University, 1966

Publications

  • Forthcoming, "The Rise and Fall of Aryan Nations: A Resource Mobilization Perspective." Journal of Political and Military Sociology.
  • 2003. "Heaven’s Gate: Implications for the Study of Commitment to New Religions." pp. 122–237 in James R. Lewis, (ed.), Encyclopedic Sourcebook of UFO Religions. Amherst, NY: Prometheus. (co-author, David Taylor)
  • 2002. "Making Sense of the Heaven’s Gate Suicides." pp. 209–228 in David G. Bromley and J. Gordon Melton (eds.), Cults, Religion, and Violence. New York: Cambridge University Press.
  • 1998 "How the Problem of Malfeasance Gets Overlooked in Studies of New Religions: An Examination of the AWARE Study of [CUT]," Robert W. Balch & Stephan Langdon in Wolves within the Fold. Anson Shupe, Ed. Rutgers.
  • 1977. "Seekers and Saucers: The Role of the Cultic Milieu in Joining a UFO Cult." Rob Balch & David Taylor. American Behavioral Scientist 20, no. 6 (1977), P. 839-60.
  • 1976 "Salvation in a UFO.", Robert W. Balch & David Taylor. Psychology Today 10