Ph.D. Thesis on Scientology Propaganda Strategies

Discussion in 'News and Current Events' started by COS and NOI News, Sep 30, 2021.

  1. Academic paper: "Rattle their doorknob and they collapse": Propaganda strategies of the Church of Scientology, by Sarah R. Lonelodge.

    Note: This Ph.D. Thesis discusses both Freedom Magazine and the STAND League.

    Date 2021-05
    Author Lonelodge, Sarah R.
    Ph.D.. Thesis, Oklahoma State University A.pdf?sequence=2&isAllowed=y


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    This project investigates two of the most prominent propaganda "arms" of the Church of Scientology (COS): Freedom Magazine and Scientologists Taking Action Against Discrimination (STAND). Both of these COS-run organizations function as seemingly altruistic groups that advocate for religious freedom and defend against discrimination, hate speech, bigotry, and more. However, when viewed as part of the context of the COS, including policies and purpose statements, both Freedom and STAND function as propaganda groups that attempt to legitimize Scientology among members and in the larger public. To ethically examine these groups, I present an in-depth analysis of the COS's structure, purposes, policies, practices, beliefs, etc. With these contextual components outlined, I argue that ethical analyses of Scientology and similar organizations/groups must include such elements which I refer to as the systemized context. Further, I suggest that the COS employs social justice initiatives only as propaganda and that legitimacy tactics and propagandistic initiatives are likely effective for members of the COS as well as many individuals in the public. Based on my analyses of Freedom and STAND, I theorize two concepts important to the field of rhetoric. The first concept is mimetic propaganda, which I define as the outward or superficial mimicry of conventional genre features that creates, in propagandistic materials, a sense of reliability for audiences though the content is highly problematic. The second concept is divine ethos, which I define as a unique reverence for a group or organization's leader that places this individual beyond reproach despite various forms of counterevidence or negative information. To illustrate these concepts and the necessity of systemized contexts in analytical frameworks, I discuss examples from within the COS and from outside organizations.

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  2. Sarah Lonelodge's academic page at East Carolina University.

    English Department

    Sarah Lonelodge
    Teaching Assistant Professor


    * * * * * BEGIN EXCERPT * * * * *

    Sarah’s dissertation, “‘Rattle Their Doorknob and They Collapse'”: Propaganda Strategies of The Church of Scientology,” analyzes and theorizes propaganda strategies within two sub-organizations of the Church of Scientology–the STAND League and Freedom Magazine.

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