From Yoga to Kabbalah: Religious Exoticism and the Logics of Bricolage

Research output: Book/ReportBook

Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationNew York
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages408
ISBN (Print)978-0-19-999763-3
Publication statusPublished - 02 Jun 2014

Bibliographical note

Provides an analysis of "religious exoticism" which has never been sociologically investigated
Addresses the sociological understanding of "bricolage" within the study of contemporary religious life
Identifies the historical and socio-cultural logics that shape social practices of bricolage

Religious exoticism implies a deeply ambivalent relationship to otherness and to religion itself: traditional religious teachings are uprooted and fragmented in order to be appropriated as practical methods for personal growth. Western contemporary societies have seen the massive popularization of such exotic religious resources as yoga and meditation, Shamanism, Buddhism, Sufism and Kabbalah. Véronique Altglas shows that these trends inform us about how religious resources are disseminated globally, as well as how the self is constructed in society. She uses two case studies: the Hindu-based movements in France and Britain that started in the 1970s, and the Kabbalah Centre in France, Britain, Brazil, and Israel. She draws upon major qualitative and cross-cultural empirical investigations to conceptualize religious exoticism and offer a nuanced and original understanding of its contemporary significance. From Yoga to Kabbalah broadens scholarly understanding of the globalization of religion, how religions are modified through cultural encounters, and of religious life in neoliberal societies.
Readership: Students and scholars in the fields of anthropology of religion, sociology of religion, history of religion, theology, religious studies in general as well as Indian and Jewish studies in particular.

Chosen by the international Society for the Sociology of Religion as the best book in 2017.

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