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Academic article on Dianetics and Scientology in Science Fiction Magazines From 1949 to 1999

Discussion in 'News and Current Events' started by CommunicatorIC, Oct 18, 2018.

  1. Hubbard Bubble, Dianetics Trouble: An Evaluation of the Representations of Dianetics and Scientology in Science Fiction Magazines From 1949 to 1999.

    Sage Open Journal: Hubbard Bubble, Dianetics Trouble: An Evaluation of the Representations of Dianetics and Scientology in Science Fiction Magazines From 1949 to 1999

    http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/2158244018807572

    Christopher Benjamin Menadue
    First Published October 17, 2018
    Research Article

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    Abstract

    Dianetics was unveiled to the public in the May 1950 edition of Astounding Science Fiction. Dianetics was the brainchild of science fiction author L. Ron Hubbard, and became the foundation for scientology toward the end of the decade. Dianetics was marketed as a “scientific” method for mental improvement—a robust alternative to conventional psychiatry—and was strongly debated in science fiction (sf) magazines. This article follows the trajectory of this cultural phenomenon from 1949 to 1999 as it appeared in this form of popular culture. A proximal reading method was applied to analyze 4,431 magazines, and identified 389 references to dianetics and scientology. References were found in advertising, reader letters, stories, feature articles, and editorials. Significant fluctuations in the prominence and perception of dianetics became clearly visible in the source material across a broad spectrum of content. Negative criticism was present from the outset, and based on logical and scientific arguments. This was countered by obfuscation, or attacks on the authors of these critiques. The followers and promoters of dianetics did not provide scientifically rigorous proof of their claims, and by the mid-1980s, dianetics and scientology were no longer serious topics in the magazines but had been added to other fads and fallacies of sf history. This article demonstrates the effectiveness of a digital humanities proximal reading method to underpin objective classification and analysis of this culturally significant phenomenon.


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