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

Paperback | June 16, 2014

byVeronique Altglas

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The popularization of yoga and meditation, public curiosity about shamanism, and the recent craze for kabbalah all demonstrate the rising appeal of these religious resources in western contemporary societies. What is it about them that fascinates the Westerns who take the classes and join thecenters? 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. As a consequence, religious exoticism tells us as much aboutthe ways in which religious resources are disseminated globally as it does about the construction of the self in contemporary societies. From Yoga to Kabbalah explores how these "exotic" religious resources cross cultural boundaries and become global, what makes them appealing in western societies, and how they are instrumentalized and for what purposes. Veronique Altglas uses the two case studies of the Hindu-based movements inFrance and Britain since the mid-1990s, 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 in-depth understanding of its contemporary significance.Ultimately, the book enhances understanding of the globalization of religion (how religions are disseminated transnationally), syncretism and bricolage (how religions are modified through cultural encounters), and of religious life in neoliberal societies (how contemporary forms of religiosityreflects core features of contemporary social life).

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The popularization of yoga and meditation, public curiosity about shamanism, and the recent craze for kabbalah all demonstrate the rising appeal of these religious resources in western contemporary societies. What is it about them that fascinates the Westerns who take the classes and join thecenters? Religious exoticism implies a deepl...

Veronique Altglas is Lecturer in Sociology at Queen's University Belfast. She has conducted research on the transnational expansion of neo-Hindu movements, the management of minority religions in France and Britain, and anti-Semitism.
Format:PaperbackDimensions:384 pages, 9.25 × 6.12 × 0.68 inPublished:June 16, 2014Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199997632

ISBN - 13:9780199997633

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Table of Contents

Introduction1. The Cultural and Historical Dimensions of Religious Exoticism2. Religious Exoticism, Belonging and Identities: the Discomfort of Bricolage3. Universalizing and De-contextualizing Exotic Religious Resources4. Universalistic Ambitions, Local Realities: Bricolage in (national) context5. The Psychologization of Exotic Religious Resources6. Bricolage and the Social Significance of Self-realizatio7. Religious Exoticism and the "New Petite Bourgeoisie"ConclusionReferencesIndex