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Implicit religion in popular culture: The case of doctor who

Crome, A (2015) Implicit religion in popular culture: The case of doctor who. Implicit Religion, 18 (4). pp. 439-455. ISSN 1463-9955


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© Equinox Publishing Ltd. 2015. Science fiction has often been presented as an ideal lens through which to examine the presence of implicit religion in contemporary society. This article provides an overview of the way in which both implicit and explicit religion has been read through the British science fiction show Doctor Who (1963-present). Commentators have argued for Buddhist, Christian or Humanist themes as predominant within the diegesis, although such claims are shown to be problematic. Instead, Doctor Who presents a variety of religious positions which can be used in a polysemic manner to discuss religion by both religious and non-religious viewers. The show has been recognised by some fans and commentators as fulfilling an implicitly religious function in and of itself, and the diegetic setting, producers, and fans are all shown to have expressed interest in exploring the concept of implicit religion. In spite of this, the article concludes with a note of caution over the dangers of over-reading implicit religiosity into contemporary cultural forms such as fandom.

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