Alternative Therapy, Dianetics, and Scientology

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Since orthodox medicine sets the standard for what is acceptable within the medical arena, some alternative medicines integrate into medicine while others remain separate or face too much scrutiny to continue practicing. In the 1970s, Morely and Wallis (1976) recognized Dianetics and Scientology as a “marginal medicine,” and from the 1960s to 1970s several government organizations worldwide investigated the group. Consequently, Scientology retreated from the medical arena, claiming that it was a religion and establishing boundaries to insulate itself from regulation. Despite Scientology’s attempted retreat, Dianetics and Scientology doctrines and practices continue to reflect concerns and actions that belong to what Tovey and Adams (2001) identify as the social world of alternative medicine. In this article, I outline Scientology’s position within the medical arena, how that position has transformed over time, and Scientology’s isolation from the dominant social world within that arena (specifically scientific medicine).
Original languageCanadian English
JournalMarburg Journal of Religion
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2010


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