9/21/21: Online talk about Free Zone Scientology with Aled Thomas, author of book Free Zone Scientology: Contesting the Boundaries of a New Religion

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9/21/21: Online talk about Free Zone Scientology with Aled Thomas, author of the book "Free Zone Scientology: Contesting the Boundaries of a New Religion.,"


Free Zone Scientology - Aled Thomas - Crowdcast



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Of all the new religions that emerged during the twentieth century, it is arguable that none have received as much attention as Scientology. Founded by L. Ron Hubbard in the early 1950s, Scientology has often been a topic of fascination across mass media and the wider public. Yet conceptions of ‘what Scientology is’ and ‘what Scientologists do’ are often distorted or misunderstood. Recent decades have demonstrated the emergence of ‘independent Scientology’ (often known as the ‘Free Zone’) – groups of Scientologists that exist outside the institutional Church of Scientology.

In this talk, Aled Thomas will give an overview of the history of Scientology, with a specific focus on Free Zone Scientology and the contemporary Scientologist landscape. Drawing from his new book, Free Zone Scientology: Contesting the Boundaries of a New Religion, Thomas will discuss l the ways in which the fluid and non-hierarchical nature of the Free Zone has led to new forms of ‘Scientologies’. The talk will explore how the Free Zone is a complex and socially fluid environment, with various debates surrounding ‘authentic’ interpretations of Hubbard’s work and practices. Thomas will demonstrate that these debates point to wider issues for our understanding of 21st century religion (‘new’ or otherwise), and how religions develop and adapt following the death of their founder.

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