Toward a Study of ‘Scientologies’

Authors

  • Aled J. Ll. Thomas University of Wolverhampton / The Open University / Alt-Ac.UK

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.1558/imre.41879

Keywords:

Scientology, scientologies, Free Zone, New Religions

Abstract

Scientology, the New Religious Movement founded by L. Ron Hubbard in the 1950s, is currently experiencing growing levels of interest from the academic community. Recent scholarly publications point to an array of academic approaches to Scientology, in addition to potential avenues for future research. In this reflective article, the author proposes that studies of contemporary Scientology would be enriched by a greater emphasis on the notion of ‘Scientologies’ (different types of Scientology across both Church of Scientology and Free Zone spaces). This approach, which addresses a wider scope of the Scientologist landscape, can benefit from the increasing number of researchers studying Scientology, and raises the potential for cross-collaboration across a network of interdisciplinary scholars. To this end, the author considers recent developments in the academic study of Scientology, and how a focus on ‘Scientologies’ can enable scholars to explore the complexities of increasingly diverse Scientologist communities.

Author Biography

Aled J. Ll. Thomas, University of Wolverhampton / The Open University / Alt-Ac.UK

Aled J. Ll. Thomas is a co-founder of Alt-Ac.UK and Visiting Fellow at the Open University. He has recently completed his doctorate on the topic of Auditing in contemporary and Free Zone Scientologies. His research interests include fluid forms of contemporary religion, material culture, and lived religion. He has presented papers on his research at conferences in the UK, Europe, and USA. He is the author of the forthcoming Free Zone Scientology: Contesting the Boundaries of a New Religion.

References

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Published

2021-03-05

How to Cite

Thomas, A. J. L. (2021). Toward a Study of ‘Scientologies’. Implicit Religion, 23(2), 140–147. https://doi.org/10.1558/imre.41879

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