‘Bricolage’: reclaiming a conceptual tool

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Abstract

This article provides the genealogy of bricolage and underscores the modifications it has undergone within the sociologies of culture and religion. It draws on the study of three new religious movements that teach unconventional versions of Hinduism and kabbalah, to show that the current understanding of bricolage in the studies of popular culture and religion overestimates its eclectic and personal nature and neglects its sociocultural logics. It tends to take for granted the availability of cultural resources used in bricolage, and finally it fails to understand the social significance of individualism, overlooking the ways in which norms and power could be expressed through culture in the contemporary world. This article suggests that it would be best reclaiming bricolage’s original meaning, prompting questions about the contexts that make certain elements available, social patterns that may organise bricolage, who ‘bricole’, what for, who is empowered, from what and by using whose tradition.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages20
JournalCulture and Religion
Volume15
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2014

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