Implicit Religion, Vol 23, No 2 (2020)

Handle with Care: Reflections on the Academic Study of Scientology

Bernard Doherty
Issued Date: 5 Mar 2021


The late 2018 publication of Donald Westbrook’s Among the Scientologists marks the culmination of a decade of increased scholarship on the Church of Scientology from a variety of scholarly perspectives. In conversation with the Religious Studies Project (RSP) panel on ‘New Directions in the Study of Scientology’ held at the British Association for the Study of Religion (BASR) in November 2018, this academic comment seeks to highlight some of the internal and external factors which work to make the study of Scientology a potential minefield for scholars of New Religions. In addition to this I offer four modest proposals for how those within the academy might work toward overcoming some of these challenges, in particular the polarization between different camps within the study of New Religions.


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DOI: 10.1558/imre.40237



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