New Religious and Spiritual Movements in West: Reflexive Modernity, Alienation Embodied Charisma

Ahadi, Ali. 2006. New Religious and Spiritual Movements in West: Reflexive Modernity, Alienation Embodied Charisma. Doctoral thesis, Goldsmiths, University of London [Thesis]

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Abstract or Description

This thesis investigates the causes and consequences behind the rise of new religious and spiritual movements [NRSMs] in the West, by tracing their historical, structural and in some cases individual origins and trajectories. The West in this study refers to the United States and Great Britain, with the two countries serving both as a reference point for critical examinations, as well as the basis for comparative analysis. The main argument developed in the study is that NRSMs are the natural by-product of a reflexive modernity and represent a morally inspired response to the largely materialistic values engendered by the capitalist ideologies of profit maximization, accumulation and consumption. Nonetheless, certain NRSMs ultimately end up practicing these very same materialistic goals. Fundamentally, new religious and spiritual discourses have emerged to counterbalance the logic heavy narrative of Enlightenment, which promoted science as a replacement for superstitious beliefs in God, and the concomitant pursuit of industrialization via the taming of nature as the correct parameters for human evolution. In an attempt to transcend the strictures of positivistic scientism and postmodern ambiguity, as applied to the sociology of new religious movements, my theoretical approach instead opens up a third space based on critical realism. Thus, the methodology incorporates a plurality of research techniques (quantitative and qualitative), such as secondary analysis of survey data, case studies, in-depth interviews and ethnography, with the thesis ultimately presenting a new theoretical framework with which to systematically analyse any NRSM.

Item Type:

Thesis (Doctoral)

Identification Number (DOI):

https://doi.org/10.25602/GOLD.00028505

Keywords:

religious movements, spiritual movements, West, capitalism, industrialization, materialistic values, reflexive modernity, critical realism

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Sociology

Date:

2006

Item ID:

28505

Date Deposited:

19 May 2020 15:19

Last Modified:

19 May 2020 15:19

URI:

http://research.gold.ac.uk/id/eprint/28505

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