Hegemonic Communication Model: The Power Dynamics in the Emergence of a Secret Creative Self. Paper/Presentation
In this paper, the authors explore the process of personal renaissance through the emergence of one’s secret creative self out of the trappings of authoritarian religions, specifically those known as cults. Some religious groups have honored and praised artists and the arts as a means to lure recruits into their ranks. Sometimes this is done in the name of changing the world by injecting aesthetics into the culture—only to lead the faithful into a subtle lair where leaders manipulate creative expression for their personal benefit or the "sake of the group." In a cultic environment, the processes of creativity development and suppression are more easily detectable since the acts of suppression are often more openly expressed and the acts of creation are more often controlled.
In this paper, the authors explore the phases in this process. Boeri and Pressley use their own case studies as former members of the Children of God (Family of Love) and the Church of Scientology. These first-person accounts describe their experiences in authoritarian cults and explore the power dynamics of total institutions that constrain members’ creativity. They identify turning points that influenced their decisions to reject or accept the cult’s practices, and their discovery of the emergence of a secret creative self once they were out of the cult. The paper employs interrelated sociological and cultural studies theories to explore the processes involved, including a symbolic interactionist understanding of self.
In conclusion, the authors present their development of the "Hegemonic Communication Model" that illustrates the thought process a cult member may use to cope with power dynamics, hegemony, sovereignty, and the creative self. They hope that a more thorough examination of this process will better help others to detect destructive religious practices and help former members to break free from legalism that suppresses creativity and free thought.
Miriam W. Boeri and Karen Pressley. "Hegemonic Communication Model: The Power Dynamics in the Emergence of a Secret Creative Self. Paper/Presentation" International Cultic Studies Association. New York, New York. Jul. 2010.
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