Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home
Hostname: page-component-55597f9d44-mm7gn Total loading time: 0.3 Render date: 2022-08-17T08:37:04.213Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "useRatesEcommerce": false, "useNewApi": true } hasContentIssue true
This chapter is part of a book that is no longer available to purchase from Cambridge Core

1 - New Age, world religions and elementary forms

from Part I - Rethinking New Age spiritualities

Steven J. Sutcliffe
Affiliation:
University of Edinburgh
Ingvild Sælid Gilhus
Affiliation:
University of Bergen, Norway
Get access

Summary

NEW AGE: AN UNRULY OBJECT?

This chapter argues that recurring uncertainties in demarcating “new age” phenomena are in important respects an effect of conceptual constraints upon our thinking about “religion” in general. These constraints are imposed by the existing taxonomy of religious formations, which is derived from the prototype of a “world religion”! The apparent broadening of this taxonomy from the early 1970s on, through the use of adjunct terms like “new religion” and “new religious movement”, while appearing to differentiate and pluralize representations of religious formations, in fact left the basic prototype undisturbed and even strengthened. Under its terms, the popular practices and beliefs which circulate under the name “new age” (and related modern rubrics such as “holistic”) can only register on the conceptual radar of religion as an anomalous or residual category. The often-remarked problem of defining new age is therefore better understood not as an empirical question – we now know a fair amount about the varieties of beliefs and practices in circulation – but as a fresh and pressing example of how our concepts (continue to) construct our data. The world religions paradigm is a recognized conceptual problem in the study of South Asian traditions, especially in relation to “Hinduism” (Fitzgerald 1990; Geaves 2005). “New Age” phenomena raise similar questions, but now in relation to the construction of religion in a “Western” context.

Type
Chapter
Information
New Age Spirituality
Rethinking Religion
, pp. 17 - 34
Publisher: Acumen Publishing
Print publication year: 2013

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

Save book to Kindle

To save this book to your Kindle, first ensure coreplatform@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Available formats
×

Save book to Dropbox

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

Available formats
×