Perspectives on ‘Cult’ Rhetoric (And Its Future)

  • Aled Thomas University of Leeds
  • Edward Graham-Hyde University of Central Lancashire
  • George D. Chryssides York St. John University
  • Sarah Harvey Inform and the University of Kent
  • Suzanne Newcombe Inform and the Open University
  • Donald A. Westbrook San Jose State University


The ‘Cult Rhetoric in the 21st Century’ panel at the 2022 BASR conference brought together six scholars, specialising in the field of minority religion, to discuss developing trends in ‘cultic’ discourse. The panellists all argue for a nuanced, contemporary approach toward understanding the use of ‘cult’ rhetoric and have a clear focus on the lived reality of adherents and ex-members. In this article, the contributing panellists outline the dominant themes emerging in the contemporary use of ‘cult’ rhetoric, challenging scholars to move beyond the ‘cult wars’ and study of New Religious Movements to a more holistic study of everyday religion – in which ‘cult’ rhetoric is a consistent part. These reflections provide a snapshot of the discussions that were had at the BASR conference whilst simultaneously indicating what to expect from their contributions in the forthcoming volume: Cult Rhetoric in the 21st Century: Deconstructing the Study of New Religious Movements.

How to Cite
THOMAS, Aled et al. Perspectives on ‘Cult’ Rhetoric (And Its Future). Journal of the British Association for the Study of Religion (JBASR), [S.l.], v. 25, p. 42-51, sep. 2023. ISSN 2516-6379. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 22 july 2024. doi: