Journal Article

How Prophecy Never Fails: Interpretive Reason in a Flying-Saucer Group

Diana Tumminia

in Sociology of Religion

Published on behalf of Association for the Sociology of Religion

Volume 59, issue 2, pages 157-170
Published in print January 1998 | ISSN: 1069-4404
Published online January 1998 | e-ISSN: 1759-8818 | DOI:
How Prophecy Never Fails: Interpretive Reason in a Flying-Saucer Group

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This descriptive analysis utilizes the ethnomethological approach to examine how reality is socially constructed within the interpretive logic of a flying-saucer group. Ethnographic data was collected over a five year period at the Unarius Academy of Science in El Cajon, California. Drawing upon participant observation, interviews, and archival research, the inquiry explores the historical events surrounding, as well as the contemporary understanding of, their prophecy and its role in reality maintenance. Periphery issues and criticisms of Festinger's When prophecy fails by the ZygmuntMelton model are considered as relevant to the historical data. With Pollners notion of mundane reason as the framework for analysis, the qualitative data show how contemporary member-practitioners explain away the interpretations of others, thereby sustaining their commitment to the group and the validity of their prophecy.

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Subjects: Religion ; Sociology of Religion

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