Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date

10-13-2011

Abstract

The neoliberal system has expanded fertile ground for markets to produce and distribute spiritual commodities. This paper examines how the Church of Scientology profits by selling spiritual goods to the modern neoliberal consumer. To accumulate data, I conducted interviews and participated in various rituals at the Church of Scientology in St. Paul, Minnesota. I outline and examine the data in four sections: the initiation process of the latent member, their consumption patterns in the Church, social interactions between members, and how these interactions bridge the Church into the public arena. I conclude that the Church is a market institution that promotes neoliberal ideology.

Comments

Presented at the Sociologists of Minnesota 2011 Annual Conference: Religious Changes in a Volatile World, held at the Hindu Temple of Minnesota in Maple Grove, MN, on 13 October 2011. A video of the presentation is available on YouTube.

Winner of the 2011 Sociologists of Minnesota Caroline Rose Student Paper Competition.

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