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John Lofland
Born John Franklin Lofland
March 4, 1936(1936-03-04) (age 86)
Milford, Delaware, US
Alma mater
  • Swarthmore College
  • Columbia University
  • University of California, Berkeley
Notable work(s) Doomsday Cult (1966)

John Franklin Lofland (born 1936) is an American sociologist best known for his studies of the peace movement and for his first book, Doomsday Cult: A Study of Conversion, Proselytization, and Maintenance of Faith, which was based on field work among a group of Unification Church members in California in the 1960s. It is considered to be one of the most important and widely cited studies of the process of religious conversion, and one of the first modern sociological studies of a new religious movement.[1][2][3]


Lofland was born in Milford, Delaware, and attended Swarthmore College, Columbia University, and the University of California, Berkeley, where he earned a PhD in sociology based on his Unification Church study. Since 1970 he has been a professor in the sociology department at the University of California, Davis, where he is now Emeritus Professor of Sociology .[4]

In the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s Lofland did field work among peace demonstrators in the United States and in Europe. He has undertaken administrative roles in several social science associations and contributed as an editor or associate editor to sociological publications. He has also been active in community organizations in Davis, California.[4]


  • 1966 Doomsday Cult: A Study of Conversion, Missionizing and Faith Maintenance, Prentice-Hall. 1977, Enlarged Edition, hardcover, Irvington; paperback edition, 1981.
  • 1969 Deviance and Identity, with the assistance of Lyn Lofland, Prentice-Hall.
  • 1971 Analyzing Social Settings: A Guide to Qualitative Observation and Analysis, Wadsworth. 1984, Second Edition, with Lyn H. Lofland. 1995, Third Edition, with Lyn H. Lofland. Japanese translation, 1997. Fourth Edition, with D. Snow & L. Anderson, process for 2004 publication.
  • 1976 Doing Social Life: The Qualitative Analysis of Human Interaction in Natural Settings, Wiley.
  • 1977 State Executions Viewed Historically and Sociologically, with H. Bleackley, Patterson Smith.
  • 1978 Interaction in Everyday Life: Social Strategies, editor, Sage.
  • 1982 Crowd Lobbying: An Emerging Tactic of Interest Group Influence in California, Univ. of California, Davis, Institute on Governmental Affairs. Symbolic Sit-ins: Protest Occupations at the California Capitol, with M. Fink, University Press of America.
  • 1985 Protest: Studies of Collective Behavior and Social Movements, Transaction. 1991, paperback edition.
  • 1990 Peace Action in the Eighties: Social Science Perspectives, co-editor with Sam Marullo, Rutgers.
  • 1991 Peace Movement Organizations and Activists: An Analytic Bibliography, co-edited with V.Johnson and P. Kato, Haworth.
  • 1993 Polite Protesters: The American Peace Movement of the 1980s, Syracuse.
  • 1996 Social Movement Organizations: Guide to Research on Insurgent Realities, Aldine de Gruyter.
  • 1999 Old North Davis: Guide to Walking a Traditional Neighborhood. Yolo County Historical Society.
  • 2000 Davis, California, 1910s-1940s, (with Phyllis Haig), Arcadia.J. Lofland, C. V. Winter, 2001 — 4
  • 2001 Handbook of Ethnography, co-editor with P. Atkinsion, M. Couch, L. Lofland, Sage.
  • in process, Demolishing A Historic Hotel: A Documentary Socioiology of Preservation Failures.


See also

  • Academic study of new religious movements
  • Chicago school (sociology)


  1. Introduction to New and Alternative Religions in America: African diaspora traditions and other American innovations, Volume 5 of Introduction to New and Alternative Religions in America, W. Michael Ashcraft, Greenwood Publishing Group, 2006 ISBN 0-275-98717-5, ISBN 978-0-275-98717-6, page 180
  2. Exploring New Religions, Issues in contemporary religion, George D. Chryssides, Continuum International Publishing Group, 2001 ISBN 0-8264-5959-5, ISBN 978-0-8264-5959-6 page 1
  3. Conversion Archived 2012-01-21 at the Wayback Machine., Unification Church Archived 2012-01-13 at the Wayback Machine., Encyclopedia of Religion and Society, Hartford Institute for Religion Research, Hartford Seminary
  4. 4.0 4.1 CV, University of California, Davis, all information from here is from this source.
  5. "Davis History Publications (Revised 6/16) — Researching Davis History". 

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