Social Insecurities and Secular Religions Paradoxical Quests for Meaning in Grassroots Spirituality

Activity: Talk or presentation / Performance / SpeechesTalk or presentation - at conferenceAcademic


Late nineteenth-century Europe and North America witnessed a widespread “crisis in consciousness” due to a quick succession of social changes. This crisis was further exacerbated by two World Wars in the twentieth century, which caused a loss of trust in conventional sources of meaning for many people in modern western culture; the perceived excessive materialism and rationalism of mainstream science, philosophy and psychology and perceived rigid dogmatism of institutionalized religion and unbridled consumerism of capitalism in particular were criticized. Following the countercultural “New Age” of the 1960 and 1970s, so-called spiritual seekers have increasingly turned to alternative sources of meaning provided by occult and oriental gurus and new religious movements. Yet, many figures and groups in twenty-first-century grassroots spirituality assume a paradoxical stance towards the dominant cultural values, beliefs and practices they criticize. In doing so, they have created interdisciplinary and intercultural hybrids, which I refer to as “secular religions.”
Period15 Nov 2019
Event titleGeometries of Crisis: Social Insecurities and Responses from Below
Event typeWorkshop
LocationYork, United KingdomShow on map