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Secularisation and the Holistic Milieu: Social and Psychological Perspectives

Main, R (2008) 'Secularisation and the Holistic Milieu: Social and Psychological Perspectives.' Religion Compass, 2 (3). pp. 365-384. ISSN 1749-8171

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In sociology of religion, there is an ongoing debate about whether alternative, holistic or New Age spirituality represents a significant resurgence of concern for the sacred in the West and, if so, whether it amounts to counter-evidence to the thesis that the West is undergoing an irreversible process of secularisation. In this article, I examine representative accounts of the contrasting views that New Age or holistic spirituality is not significant and that it is significant. Both views turn on interpretations of the importance within New Age spirituality, or the ?holistic milieu?, of the self and its relation to society and the sacred. However, neither sociological perspective explores in depth the nature of this central concept of the self. For a deeper theorisation of the self that may cast some light on the contradiction between the two sociological viewpoints and provide a model for appreciating the potential significance of New Age spirituality, I propose an interdisciplinary intervention from the perspective of Jungian analytical psychology. Jungian psychology, I argue, is particularly fitted to contribute to the debate about secularisation and New Age spirituality because of its having emerged out of, and embedding insights from, both secularising and sacralising tendencies in modern Western culture. The Jungian approach points to a conception of the self, congruent with New Age notions, that counters the all too common assumption that the new forms of subjective spirituality are socially insignificant.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BL Religion
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences
Faculty of Social Sciences > Psychosocial and Psychoanalytic Studies, Department of
SWORD Depositor: Elements
Depositing User: Elements
Date Deposited: 15 Jan 2012 11:33
Last Modified: 06 Jan 2022 13:20

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