Indoctrination is the process of inculcating a person with ideas, attitudes, cognitive strategies or professional methodologies (see doctrine).[1] Humans are a social animal inescapably shaped by cultural context, and thus some degree of indoctrination is implicit in the parent–child relationship, and has an essential function in forming stable communities of shared values.

In the political context, indoctrination is often analyzed as a tool of class warfare, where institutions of the state are identified as "conspiring" to maintain the status quo. Specifically the public educational system, the police, and mental health establishment are a commonly cited modus operandi of public pacification. In the extreme, an entire state can be implicated. George Orwell's book Nineteen Eighty-Four famously singled out explicit, state-mandated propaganda initiatives of totalitarian regimes. Opinions differ on whether other forms of government are less doctrinaire, or merely achieve the same ends through less obvious methods.

The precise boundary between education and indoctrination often lies in the eye of the beholder. Some distinguish indoctrination from education on the basis that the indoctrinated person is expected not to question or critically examine the doctrine they have learned.[2] As such the term may be used pejoratively or as a buzz word, often in the context of political opinions, theology, religious dogma or anti-religious convictions. Even so, the word itself, which came about in its first form in the 1620s as endoctrinate, meaning to teach or to instruct, modeled from French or Latin.[3] The word only gained the meaning of imbueing with an idea or opinion in the 1832.

The term is closely linked to socialization; however, in common discourse, indoctrination is often associated with negative connotations, while socialization functions as a generic descriptor conveying no specific value or connotation (some choosing to hear socialization as an inherently positive and necessary contribution to social order, others choosing to hear socialization as primarily an instrument of social oppression). Matters of doctrine (and indoctrination) have been contentious and divisive in human society dating back to antiquity. The expression attributed to Titus Lucretius Carus in the first century BCE quod ali cibus est aliis fuat acre venenum (what is food to one, is to others bitter poison) remains pertinent.

Bundesarchiv Bild 147-0510, Berlin, Lustgarten, Kundgebung der HJ
Hitler Youth members performing the Nazi salute at a rally at the Lustgarten in Berlin, 1933


Religious indoctrination, the original sense of indoctrination, refers to a process of imparting doctrine in an authoritative way, as in catechism. Most religious groups among the revealed religions instruct new members in the principles of the religion; this is now not usually referred to as indoctrination by the religions themselves, in part because of the negative connotations the word has acquired. Mystery religions require a period of indoctrination before granting access to esoteric knowledge. (cf. Information security)

As a pejorative term, indoctrination implies forcibly or coercively causing people to act and think on the basis of a certain ideology.[4] Some secular critics believe that all religions indoctrinate their adherents, as children, and the accusation is made in the case of religious extremism.[5] Sects such as Scientology use personality tests and peer pressures to indoctrinate new members.[6] Some religions have commitment ceremonies for children 13 years and younger, such as Bar Mitzvah, Confirmation, and Shichi-Go-San. In Buddhism, temple boys are encouraged to follow the faith while young. Critics of religion, such as Richard Dawkins, maintain that the children of religious parents are often unfairly indoctrinated.[7]

However, indoctrination can occur, and often does occur with great frequency, in non-religious contexts. For example, in the 20th century, the former People's Socialist Republic of Albania and the former USSR instituted programs of government-sponsored atheistic indoctrination in order to promote state atheism, specifically Marxist–Leninist atheism, within their citizenry.[8][9] Sabrina P. Ramet, a professor of political science, documented that "from kindergarten onward children [were] indoctrinated with an aggressive form of atheism" and "to denounce parents who follow religious practices at home."[10] However, after the death of Albania's leader, Enver Hoxha in 1985, his successor, Ramiz Alia, adopted a relatively tolerant stance toward religious practice, referring to it as "a personal and family matter." Émigré clergymen were permitted to reenter the country in 1988 and officiate at religious services. Mother Teresa, an ethnic Albanian, visited Tirana in 1989, where she was received by the foreign minister and by Hoxha's widow. In December 1990, the ban on religious observance was officially lifted, in time to allow thousands of Christians to attend Christmas services (see Freedom of religion in Albania).

Similarly, in the former Soviet Union, "science education [in] Soviet schools [was] used as a vehicle for atheistic indoctrination", with teachers being instructed to prepare their course "so as to conduct anti-religious educations at all times," in order to comport with state-sanctioned Marxist–Leninist values.[11] However, in 1997, several years after the fall of the Soviet Union, the Russian government passed a law recognizing religion as being important to Russian history with Orthodox Christianity (Russian: Православие Pravoslaviye), Russia's traditional and largest religion, declared a part of Russia's "historical heritage."


The initial psychological preparation of soldiers during training is referred to (non-pejoratively) as indoctrination.

Information security

In the field of information security, indoctrination is the initial briefing and instructions given before a person is granted access to secret information.[12]

See also


  1. ^ Funk and Wagnalls: "To instruct in doctrines; esp., to teach partisan or sectarian dogmas"; I.A. Snook, ed. 1972. Concepts of Indoctrination (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul).
  2. ^ Wilson, J., 1964. "Education and indoctrination", in T.H.B. Hollins, ed. Aims in Education: the philosophic approach (Manchester University Press).
  3. ^ Douglas Harper, "indoctrinate (v.)," Online Etymology Dictionary, accessed April 20, 2019.
  4. ^ See OED, indoctrination.
  5. ^ Harris, Sam (2011). The moral landscape. Simon and Schuster.
  6. ^ See Scientology beliefs and practices.
  7. ^ Dawkins, Richard. The God Delusion. New York: Bantam Books, 2006. pp. 25, 28, 206, 367.
  8. ^ Jacques, Edwin E. (1995). The Albanians: An Ethnic History from Prehistoric Times to the Present. McFarland. p. 447. ISBN 978-0899509327. This Marxist-Leninist class revolution, therefore, demanded an atheistic indoctrination of the working masses and the elimination of all religious convictions.
  9. ^ Franzmann, Manuel (2006). Religiosität in der säkularisierten Welt. Springer-Verlag. p. 89. However, another conspicuous result of our comparison is that some Eastern European countries, in spite of decades of atheist indoctrination, have a considerable percentage of believers in God - Albania for instance, whose Communist rulers once claimed it was the world's first totally atheist country, or Russia, where the percentage of believers surged in the late eighties and rose dramatically once again in the course of the nineties.
  10. ^ Ramet, Sabrina P. (1990). Catholicism and Politics in Communist Societies. Duke University Press. pp. 232–33. ISBN 978-0822310471. From kindergarten onward children are indoctrinated with an aggressive form of atheism and trained to hate and distrust foreigners and to denounce parents who follow religious practices at home.
  11. ^ Witt, Nicholas De (1961). Education and Professional Employment in the U.S.S.R. National Academies. p. 121.
  12. ^ The National Industrial Security Program Operating Manual defines indoctrination as "the initial security instructions/briefing given a person prior to granting access to classified information."

External links

Ferrer movement

The Ferrer school was an early 20th century libertarian school inspired by the anarchist pedagogy of Francisco Ferrer. He was a proponent of rationalist, secular education that emphasized reason, dignity, self-reliance, and scientific observation, as opposed to the ecclesiastical and dogmatic standard Spanish curriculum of the period. Ferrer's teachings followed in a tradition of rationalist and romantic education philosophy, and 19th century extragovernment, secular Spanish schools. He was particularly influenced by Paul Robin's orphanage at Cempuis.

With this ideal in mind, Ferrer established the Escuela Moderna in Barcelona, which ran for five years between 1901 and 1906. Ferrer attempted a less dogmatic approach to education that would attempt to draw out the child's natural powers, though children still received moral indoctrination on social responsibility and the importance of freedom. Ferrer championed practical knowledge over theory, and emphasized experiences and trips over readings. Pupils were free and trusted to direct their own education and attend as they pleased. The school also hosted lectures for adults in the evenings and weekends. It also hosted a printing press to create readings for the school. The press ran its own journal with news from the school and articles from prominent libertarian writers.

Following Ferrer's execution, an international Ferrer movement (also known as the Modern School movement) spread throughout Europe and as far as Brazil and the United States, most notably in the New York and Stelton Modern School.


Helicopter Training Squadron EIGHTEEN (HT-18) is a United States Navy helicopter training squadron based at Naval Air Station Whiting Field in Milton, Florida. The squadron's mission is helicopter pilot training for U. S. Navy, U. S. Marine Corps and U. S. Coast Guard Student Naval Aviators and for selected foreign military flight students from basic helicopter flight training through winging, the squadron also provides indoctrination fights for Midshipmen and Flight Surgeons. Student Naval Aviators report to HT-18 for helicopter training upon completion of primary flight training conducted in the T-6B Texan II U. S. Navy primary flight trainer. HT-18 flies both the TH-57B Sea Ranger and the TH-57C Sea Ranger. The Squadron's nickname is "Vigilant Eagles"

Mass movement

A mass movement denotes a political party or movement which is supported by large segments of a population. Political movements that typically advocate the creation of a mass movement include the ideologies of communism and fascism. Both communists and fascists typically support the creation of mass movements as a means to overthrow a government and create their own government, the mass movement then being used afterwards to protect the government from being overthrown itself.

The social scientific study of mass movements focuses on such elements as charisma, leadership, active minorities, cults and sects, followers, mass man and mass society, alienation, brainwashing and indoctrination, authoritarianism and totalitarianism. The field emerged from crowd or mass psychology (Le Bon, Tarde a.o.), which had gradually widened its scope from mobs to social movements and opinion currents, and then to mass and media society.

One influential early text was the double essay on the herd instinct (1908) by British surgeon Wilfred Trotter. It also influenced the key concepts of the superego and identification in Massenpsychologie (1921) by Sigmund Freud, misleadingly translated as Group psychology. They are linked to ideas on sexual repression leading to rigid personalities, in the original Mass psychology of fascism (1933) by Freudo-Marxist Wilhelm Reich (not to be confused with its totally revised 1946 American version). This then rejoined ideas formulated by the Frankfurt School and Theodor Adorno, ultimately leading to a major American study about The authoritarian personality (1950), as a basis for xenophobia and anti-Semitism.

Another early theme was the relationship between masses and elites, both outside and within such movements (Gaetano Mosca, Vilfredo Pareto, Robert Michels, Moisey Ostrogorski).

Officer Candidate School (United States Navy)

The United States Navy's Officer Candidate School (abbreviated OCS) provides initial training for officers of the line and select operational staff corps communities (supply and CEC) in the United States Navy. Along with United States Naval Academy (USNA) and Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps (NROTC), OCS is one of three principal sources of new commissioned naval officers.

Persuasive writing

Persuasive writing intends to convince readers to believe in an idea or opinion. It's a form of non-fiction writing the writer uses to develop logical arguments, making use of carefully chosen words and phrases

Persuasive writing intends to convince readers to believe in an idea and to do an action. Many writings such as critics, reviews, reaction papers, editorials, proposals, advertisements, and brochures use different ways of persuasion to influence readers. Persuasive writing can also be used in indoctrination.

Propaganda in Nazi Germany

The propaganda used by the German Nazi Party in the years leading up to and during Adolf Hitler's leadership of Germany (1933–1945) was a crucial instrument for acquiring and maintaining power, and for the implementation of Nazi policies. The pervasive use of propaganda by the Nazis is largely responsible for the word "propaganda" itself acquiring its present negative connotations.

Quo Vadis (band)

Quo Vadis was a melodic death metal band from Montreal, Quebec, Canada, formed in 1992 by Bart Frydrychowicz, Yanic Bercier, and Arie Itman, named after the novel by Polish writer Henryk Sienkiewicz. Since its inception, the band released three studio albums, one compilation album, one demo, one live DVD, one live album and two videos. Not to be confused with another technical death metal band from Poland, bearing the same name.

Ranger Assessment and Selection Program

Ranger Assessment and Selection Program (RASP) is an 8-week course held at Fort Benning, Georgia. RASP is required for all ranks. As of 2010, RASP replaced both the RIP (Ranger Indoctrination Program) for enlisted Soldiers and ROP (Ranger Orientation Program) for Officers, both commissioned and noncommissioned and below to be assigned to the U.S. Army's 75th Ranger Regiment.

RASP is designed to prepare soldiers, many of whom have just graduated Basic Training and Advanced Individual Training and are still considered "fresh" recruits, for assignment to the 75th Ranger Regiment. Soldiers from other units attempting to transfer to the 75th Ranger Regiment also attend the course, but are less common than new soldiers.

Follow-on courses including Airborne School and MOS-specific training like SOCM are also required for RASP graduates. Graduates are in jeopardy of losing all affiliation with the Ranger regiment if they fail to complete their follow-on training. Unsuccessful trainees will be reassigned to another unit.

Ranger Creed

The Ranger Creed is the official creed of the United States Army Rangers. The Ranger Creed was written in 1974 by CSM Neal R. Gentry, the original command sergeant major of the reactivated 1st Ranger Battalion. It was initiated by the Battalion Commander, then-LTC Kenneth C. Leuer, and re-drafted by the battalion XO, MAJ "Rock" Hudson and finalized at Fort Stewart, Georgia in 1974 when the original cadre deployed there on 1 July 1974. Today, members of Ranger community recite the Ranger Creed during formations, ceremonies, physical training activities and upon graduations from the Ranger Indoctrination Program, the Ranger Orientation Program and the U.S. Army Ranger Course.

Re-education camp (Vietnam)

Re-education camp (Vietnamese: trại học tập cải tạo) is the official title given to the prison camps operated by the Communist government of Vietnam following the end of the Vietnam War. In such "reeducation camps", the government imprisoned up to 300,000 former military officers, government workers and supporters of the former government of South Vietnam. Reeducation as it was implemented in Vietnam was seen as both a means of revenge and a sophisticated technique of repression and indoctrination, which developed following the 1975 Fall of Saigon. Thousands were tortured or abused. Prisoners were incarcerated for as long as 17 years, with most terms ranging from three to 10 years.

The term 'reeducation camp' is also used to refer to prison camps operated by the People's Republic of China during the Cultural Revolution, or the laogai and laojiao camps currently operated by the Chinese government. At least 120,000 members of China's Muslim Uyghur minority have been detained in Xinjiang reeducation camps. Some international media reports said as many as 1 million people are being held in such camps in the Xinjiang region. The theory underlying such camps is the Maoist theory of reforming counter-revolutionaries into socialist citizens by re-education through labor.

Religion and children

Children usually acquire the religious views of their parents, although they may also be influenced by others they communicate with such as peers and teachers. Aspects of this subject include rites of passage, education and child psychology, as well as discussion of the moral issue of religious education of children.

Revolutionary Guard Corps

The Revolutionary Guard Corps (Liwa Haris al-Jamahiriya) or Jamahiriyyah Guard was a Libyan paramilitary elite unit that played the role of key protection force of the regime of Muammar Gaddafi, until his death in October 2011. Composed of 3,000 men hand-picked from Gaddafi's tribal group in the Sirte region, the Guard was well armed, being provided with T-54 and T-62 tanks, APCs, MRLs, SA-8 SAMs and ZSU-23-4 Anti-aircraft guns taken from the army inventory. As of 2005, its commander was Hasan al-Kabir al-Gaddafi, a cousin of the former Libyan leader.The Revolutionary Guard developed from the Revolutionary Committees, even if the latter had at first been introduced only into workplaces and communities, and not extended to the Armed Forces. After the early 1980s, however, the Revolutionary Guard, as a paramilitary wing of the Revolutionary Committees, became entrenched within the military. They served as a parallel channel of control, a means of ideological indoctrination in the barracks, and an apparatus for monitoring suspicious behavior. The Revolutionary Guards reportedly held the keys to ammunition stockpiles at the main military bases, doling it out in small quantities as needed by the regular forces. Their influence increased after a coup attempt in May 1985, that was blocked mainly thanks to the action of the Revolutionary Guard that engaged regular army units in a series of street battles.


The United States Coast Guard (USCG) Women's Reserve, known as the SPARS, was the World War II women's branch of the USCG Reserve. It was established by the United States Congress and signed into law by President Franklin D. Roosevelt on 23 November 1942. This authorized the acceptance of women into the reserve as commissioned officers and at the enlisted level, for the duration of the war plus six months. Its purpose was to release officers and men for sea duty and to replace them with women at shore stations. Dorothy C. Stratton was appointed director of the SPARS, with the rank of lieutenant commander and later promoted to captain. She had been the Dean of Women on leave from Purdue University, and an officer in the WAVES (Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service). Stratton is credited with creating the nautical name of SPARS.

The qualifying age for officer candidates was between 20 and 50, and required to have a college degree, or two years' of college and two years' of professional or business experience. For enlisted, the age was between 20 and 36, and required to have completed at least two years' of high school. Initially only white women were recruited; later five African-American women were accepted and served. The agreement reached between the U.S. Navy and the USCG required officer candidates receive their indoctrination at Smith College, Northampton, Massachusetts. In June 1943, the USCG withdrew from the agreement, and the indoctrination of officer candidates was transferred to the USCG Academy at New London, Connecticut.

According to that same agreement, enlisted personnel would receive their training on college campuses operated for such by the Navy. In March 1943, the USCG decided to also establish its own training center for the training of recruits. The site selected was the Palm Beach Biltmore Hotel, Palm Beach, Florida. Beginning in June, all enlisted personnel would receive their recruit training and specialized training there. Some 70 percent of the enlisted women who received recruit training also received some specialized training. In January 1945, the training of enlisted personnel was transferred from Palm Beach to Manhattan Beach, Brooklyn, New York.

The SPARS were assigned to every USCG district except Puerto Rico, and served in Hawaii and Alaska as well. Most officers were general duty officers, although some served as communication, supply and recruiting officers. Most of the enlisted women performed clerical duties, but they also rigged parachutes and drove jeeps. A select few officers and enlisted personnel were assigned to work with the Long Range Aid to Navigation at monitoring stations in the Continental United States. Better known as LORAN, it was a top-secret radio navigation system developed for ships at sea and long-range aircraft. The SPARS peak strength was approximately 11,000 officers and enlisted personnel. Commodore J. A. Hirschfield, USCG, said, the SPARS volunteered for duty when their country needed them, and they did their jobs with enthusiasm, efficiency, and with a minimum of fanfare. Two United States Coast Guard Cutters were named in honor of the SPARS.

SS Education Office

The SS Education Office (SS-Schulungsamt) was one of the Nazi organizations responsible for the ideological indoctrination of members of the SS. The office operated initially under the jurisdiction of the Reich Race and Settlement Office (RuSHA) but was later subordinated to the SS Main Office (SS-Hauptamt).

Thought reform in China

Thought reform in China (Chinese: 思想改造; pinyin: sīxiǎng gǎizào, also known as ideological remolding or ideological reform) was a campaign of the Communist Party of China to reform the thinking of Chinese citizens into accepting Marxism-Leninism and Mao Zedong Thought (Maoism) from 1951–1952. Techniques employed included indoctrination, "struggle sessions", propaganda, criticism and self-criticism, and a variety of other techniques.

United States Marine Corps Reconnaissance Selection and Indoctrination

The two amphibious/ground reconnaissance assets of the United States Marine Corps, Division and Force Reconnaissance, are generally trained in the same aspect and environment of intelligence collection for a Marine Air Ground Task Force (MAGTF) Commander, regardless of their difference in tactical area of responsibility (TAOR). However, in light of their distinctive responsibilities in their assigned areas of operations—whereas Division Recon conducts close and distant operations, Force Recon conducts deep operations—these two separate reconnaissance assets manage their own training protocols to fit their mission-oriented objectives.

United States Navy SEAL selection and training

The average member of the United States Navy's Sea, Air, Land Teams (SEALs) spends over a year in a series of formal training environments before being awarded the Special Warfare Operator Naval Rating and the Navy Enlisted Classification (NEC) 5326 Combatant Swimmer (SEAL) or, in the case of commissioned naval officers, the designation 1130 Special Warfare Officer. All Navy SEALs must attend and graduate from their rating's 24-week "A" School known as Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL (BUD/S) school, a basic parachutist course and then the 26-week SEAL Qualification Training program.All sailors entering the SEAL training pipeline chosen by Naval Special Warfare Command must also attend the six-month SEAL specific Special Operations Tactical Medic course in Stennis, MS and subsequently earn the NEC SO-5393 Naval Special Warfare Medic before joining an operational Team. Once outside the formal schooling environment SEALs entering a new Team at the beginning of an operational rotation can expect 18 months of training interspersed with leave and other time off before each six-month deployment.

Walk the Sky

Walk the Sky is the sixth studio album by American rock band Alter Bridge, to be released on October 18, 2019. It was produced by their longtime collaborator Michael Baskette, who has produced all of the band's albums since Blackbird. The first single from the album will be "Wouldn't You Rather", set to be released on June 28, 2019. The album's artwork is designed by Dan Tremonti, brother of guitarist Mark Tremonti. Alongside the album announcement, it was also revealed that he band embark on a European tour with Shinedown, Sevendust and the Raven Age towards the end of 2019.

Walking Together

Walking Together (Russian: Идущие вместе, Idushchiye vmyestye) is a Russian youth movement that was created by Vasily Yakemenko in May 2000. The group, which had over 50 thousand members as of January 2002, is strongly pro-Putin and is openly endorsed by President Vladimir Putin's administration. It has strict rules and indoctrination methods, and is openly criticized for its similarity to the Soviet Young Pioneers established by the Communist Party in 1922. The senior patron of the movement is Vladislav Surkov, the deputy head of the presidential administration. The group was transformed into "Nashi" (Ours) youth group in 2005 after a scandal involving the dissemination of pornography.

Group pressures
Conforming oneself
Intermittent or partial
negative reinforcement
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