Robert Lifton labeled the extraordinarily high degree of social control characteristic of organizations that operate reform programs as their totalistic quality (Lifton 1961). This concept refers to the mobilization of the entirety of the person's social, and often physical, environment in support of the manipulative effort. Lifton identified eight themes or properties of reform environments that contribute to their totalistic quality:Keep it Up - A Balloon Metaphor at KIPP School Summit 2014 from KIPP Foundation on Vimeo.
- Control of communication
- Emotional and behavioral manipulation
- Demands for absolute conformity to behavior prescriptions derived from the ideology
- Obsessive demands for confession
- Agreement that the ideology is faultless
- Manipulation of language in which cliches substitute for analytic thought
- Reinterpretation of human experience and emotion in terms of doctrine
- Classification of those not sharing the ideology as inferior and not worthy of respect
- (Lifton 1961, pp. 419-437, 1987).