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International Cultic Studies Association


International Cultic Studies Association

International Cultic Studies Association
Formation 1979, as American Family Foundation (AFF), renamed in 2004
Founder Kay Barney
Area served
Executive Director
Michael Langone
Steve Eichel
Steve Eichel, Carol Giambalvo, Michael Langone
Key people
Michael Langone, Carol Giambalvo
Website .com.icsahomewww

The International Cultic Studies Association (ICSA) is a non-profit anti-International Journal of Cultic Studies and other materials.


  • History 1
  • Publications 2
    • Print magazines 2.1
    • Cultic Studies Review 2.2
    • International Journal of Cultic Studies 2.3
  • Reception 3
    • Connections with post-communist governments 3.1
    • Criticism 3.2
  • References 4


ICSA was founded in 1979 in Massachusetts as the American Family Foundation (AFF) — one of several dozen disparate parents' groups founded in the late 1970s by concerned parents.[1][2] For a time it was affiliated with the Citizens’ Freedom Foundation (CFF) which later became the Cult Awareness Network (CAN).[3] It also developed links with Evangelical Christian counter-cult movements such as the Christian Research Institute[3]

ICSA is a non-profit organisation, with a stated mission "to study psychological manipulation, especially as it manifests in cultic and related groups".[1][3][4][5] Michael Langone, ICSA's Executive Director, defines a cult as "a group or movement exhibiting a great or excessive devotion or dedication to some person, idea, or thing, and employing unethically manipulative techniques of persuasion and control designed to advance the goals of the group’s leader, to the actual or possible detriment of members, their families, or the community".[6]


Print magazines

The American Family Foundation's early print magazine, The Advisor, was replaced by the Cult Observer and the Cultic Studies Journal in 1984.[7]

Cultic Studies Review

Publication of the Cultic Studies Journal ceased in 2001 and the AFF began publishing the Cultic Studies Review as an Internet/online journal with triennial print editions.[8] The final AFF published edition of Cultic Studies Review was released in 2005. Subsequent editions were published as the International Cultic Studies Association until 2010.[9]

International Journal of Cultic Studies

The first print and online editions of the International Journal of Cultic Studies (IJCS) were published online in 2010 as a self-described "refereed annual journal that publishes scholarly research on cultic phenomena across a range of disciplines and professions",[10][11][12]


Connections with post-communist governments

Edelman & Richardson (2005) state that Russia.[4]


In their 2009 book, Cults and New Religions: A Brief History, sociologists Evangelical Protestantism, the Roman Catholic Church, Buddhism and Hinduism fall within the criteria.[5]

In 2005, the Hate Crimes Unit of the Edmonton Police Service confiscated anti-Falun Gong materials distributed at the annual conference of the American Family Foundation by staff members of the Calgary Chinese Consulate (Province of Alberta, Canada). The materials, including the calling of Falun Gong a "cult," were identified as having breached the Criminal Code, which bans the willful promotion of hatred against identifiable religious groups.[14]


  1. ^ a b George D. Chryssides; Margaret Wilkins (10 May 2006). A Reader in New Religious Movements: Readings in the Study of New Religious Movements. Continuum International Publishing Group. p. 360.  
  2. ^ Langone, Michael. "History of American Family Foundation". Retrieved 10 January 2015. 
  3. ^ a b c Peter Clarke (1 March 2004). Encyclopedia of New Religious Movements. Routledge.  
  4. ^ a b Richardson, James T.; Shterin, Marat S. (2000). "Effects of the Western anti-cult movement on development of laws concerning religion in post-Communist Russia". Journal of Church and State 42 (2): 247.  
  5. ^ a b Cowan, Douglas E. and Bromley, David G. ‘’Cults and New Religions: A Brief History.’’ Blackwell Publishing. 2009. Pages 4, 219-222. ISBN 978-1-4051-6128-2
  6. ^ Cults Questions and Answers Langone, Michael, 1988
  7. ^ Langone, Michael (May 1984). "To the reader". Cultic Studies Journal 1 (1): 3. 
  8. ^ Langone, Michael (2002). "Introduction to Inaugural Issue". Cultic Studies Review 1 (1): 5. 
  9. ^ Wehle, Dana; Madsen, Libbe, eds. (2010). Cultic Studies Review 9 (1). 
  10. ^ Carmen Almendros; Dianne Casoni; Rod Dubrow-Marshall (2010). "About the International Journal of Cultic Studies". International Journal of Cultic Studies 1 (1). 
  11. ^ "International Journal of Cultic Studies - International Cultic Studies Association (ICSA)". Retrieved 2015-01-19. 
  12. ^ Dole, A. A. (1989). "Book review". Journal of Religion & Health 28 (3): 245–246.  
  13. ^ Edelman, Bryan; Richardson, James T. (2005). "Imposed limitations on freedom of religion in China and the margin of appreciation doctrine: a legal analysis of the crackdown on the Falun Gong and other "evil cults"". Journal of Church and State 47 (2): p243.  
  14. ^ Edmonton Police Report of Willful Promotion of Hatred by Chinese Consular Officials against Falun Gong, Appendix 8 to "David Matas, Esq. and Hon. David Kilgour, Esq.
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