Session on “The regime of “spirituality” and the culture of well-being in neoliberal societies” – 17th European Association for the Study of Religions (EASR) conference

 In Call for Papers, Uncategorized

We were welcoming submission for our a call for papers for the session “The regime of “spirituality” and the culture of well-being in neoliberal societies” that will happen during the 17th European Association for the Study of Religions (EASR) conference “Religion – Continuations and Disruptions” from June 25 to June 29, 2019 in Tartu, Estonia.

The deadline for individual papers is December 15, 2018.

For more information about the call for papers please see:

Looking forward to seeing you there

The regime of “spirituality” and the culture of well-being in neoliberal societies
Géraldine Mossière, Université de Montréal, Canada,
François Gauthier, Université de Fribourg, Switzerland

While the role of secularization and individualism in the transformation of religions and religious patterns is now widely acknowledged, research now points to the interaction between contemporary religious behaviours on one hand, and the many facets of the neoliberal and consumerist paradigm and its diffusion in all spheres of social life on the other hand. Among them, the thriving culture of well-being probably owes part of its success to the popularization of psychological theories to which it intermingles more than often, but also to the leverage of resources offered by religious traditions. As the latter are restated under the umbrella term of “spirituality” now aimed at working on the self, bettering the individual and equipping her/him for social life, they are redesigned to meet the impetus of leading a “good life”, maximizing one’s potential and focusing on one’s subjectivity. While critics have emphasized the social bias of this new trend towards a category of privileged actors, other accounts testify to the deep penetration of these self-realisation and well-being tropes within mainstream culture. Certainly, empirical and critical studies can bring more to this conversation, which has not been given the place it deserves as an overt thematic within the discipline.

In this session, we invite papers to discuss the dynamics between the contemporary regime of spirituality, ethics of well-being and the consumerist/neoliberal paradigm; all disciplinary lenses are welcome (anthropology, sociology, religious sciences, history, psychology, ethnology, philosophy).

Among others, the following topics could be addressed:

– Who are the actors of the culture of well-being and how do they appropriate religious rituals, prescriptions or myth?

– How does this contemporary movement lead to revisit and redefine the notion of “spirituality” beyond its Western historical understanding? What about the initial esoteric dimension of spirituality?

– How do they negotiate with religious authority and traditions, and how do religious authorities and traditions negotiate with their new presence?

– How do digital communication technologies shape and participate in this movement?

– How does the material aspect of religion contribute to assert the influence of the culture of well-being in religious behaviours?

– Is there a gendered dimension in the dynamic between well-being and religion? Does it correspond to a general “feminization” of religion?

– What kind of ethics and moralities emerge from this contact zone between well-being and spirituality?

– What are the best theoretical and analytical framework for understanding these transformations (marketization, secularisation, post-secularity, de-secularisation)?

– What consistency should we give the term “spirituality” in the analysis of this movement? Should it be kept as a purely “emic” notion, or should it be developed into a sociological concept?

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