Contenuto principale

Raffaella Di Marzio has been giving lectures at the International Conferences organized by SIPR (Italian Society Psychology of Religion), from 2002 to 2013, and she has been member of all scientific committees since 2004.







The Movement “Restoration of the Ten Commandments of God”: the drifts of a Marian cult deep-rooted in the heart of Africa.

On 17 March 2000 more than 500 members of a locally based cult, the Movement for the Restoration of the Ten Commandments (MRTCG), perished in an inferno in Kanungu, southwestern Uganda, and over 400 people murdered and dumped in secret mass graves. The movement was based on visions and revelations supposedly from the Blessed Virgin Mary. Milleniarism, the turmoils experienced by Uganda, the spread of AIDS, the African inherited religious personality and the traditional catholic religiosity form the cultural and environmental background that influenced this movement. It is difficult to explain the massive use of violence rationalized and justified in  theological terms. Anyway, it is very important that the scholar does not apply  Western models to situations peculiar to different culture.



The charismatic relationship in the New Religious Movements: Attachment and Loss

The study of the structure, the functioning and the social control processes that are found within the group environment are very important to social psychology and lends itself to many applications. One of these applications concerns the social control processes that manifest themselves within certain religious groups, to which people affiliate themselves in order to express and live out their need for spirituality and transcendence. An interesting hypothesis was formulated concerning the relationship between “brainwashing” and the dependency bond that unites the followers and the charismatic eader. Professor Zablocki in his article “Exit cost analysis: A new approach to the scientific study of brainwashing” formulates the hypothesis that brainwashing can occur when power is exercised by a charismatic authority. The function of the leader, according to Zablocki, would be, therefore, to make it as difficult as possible for members in crisis to leave the group, constantly increasing the cost of leaving. On an emotional level, the Zablocki's hypothesis is that the charismatic relationship reintroduces the individual to the attachment-detachment relationship between mother and child. The initial instinct of the charismatic leader is to feed, and the instinct of the disciple is to be fed. The action of the leader, then, can be seen in the creation of strong need of attachment in a  similar to what Bowlby has called “anxious attachment.”



Sects and Anti-sect Organizations:  similarities in opposite contexts

This essay will focus primarily on identifying a set of social behaviour characteristics which appear to us to be shared by members and  leaders of the so called “anti-cult movements”, antagonist groups which have the goal of fighting religious minorities and spiritual-groups, named “cults”. This research is aimed at showing that in both “cults” and “anti-cult” movements there are similar dynamics: love-bombing, indoctrination procedures that effectively induce behavioral and attitudinal changes, reinforcing a narcissistically grandiose self-conception that providing a collective foundation for the projection of elements of the polarized negative self-image onto a scapegoated contrast group (the “cult”). The leader’s personality characteristics are very important to determine the result of these group dynamics. Very often anti-cult groups’ leaders have a narcissistic personality as well as cults’ leaders. In order to understand anti-cult groups we will use the concept of “malignant narcissism” used by Erich Fromm in: “The Hearth of Man. Its Genius for Good and Evil”(1964).