The search for an adequate understanding of the New Age phenomenon is fraught with difficulties when examined within the perspectives of sociology of religion which have shed light on religion in modernity. New Agers cannot be located easily in the secularisation narrative; they move through fluid networks rather than settled collectivities; they assemble personal syncretisms of belief, myth and practice rather than subscribe to codified doctrines and prescribed rituals. New Age is quickly found to be a label that is unacceptable to many of those designated as New Agers. This book advances our understanding of the so-called New Age phenomenon by analysing accounts of insiders' religious experience and orientations. This approach is brought to bear not only on the study of written documents relating to New Age and its putative antecedents, but on the analysis of in-depth interviews with thirty-five spiritual actors.
Table of Contents
Contents: Preface, Introduction; A profile of the respondents: social and spiritual aspects; A profile of the respondents: networking aspects; Keeping New Age at bay; Perennism; The spiritual knowledges; A sociological chart of the age of Aquarius; Neo-paganism and presentist perennism; Three perennist spiritualities; Perennist re-enchantment: the cultural logic of late capitalism and communicative action; Conclusion; Bibliography; Index.
'This is an excellent project, well grounded in the literatures of both the sociology of religion and religious studies. Adam makes a substantial cutting edge contribution to both of these areas through a careful delineation and location of what have been loosely described as New Age Spiritualities. The text is conceptually and empirically most rigorous.' Gary D. Bouma, Professor of Sociology, Monash University. '... the book offers a concise and stimulating analysis of contemporary New Age and is thus likely to become a standard text and reference point for the social scientific discourse in this area of study.' Journal of Contemporary Religion '... the book is a must read for social scientists who specialize in New Age religion. Possamai presents interesting new findings and provides a necessary challenge to the secularization narrative that dominates much of field.' International Review of Modern Sociology ’... an interesting and fresh study, which features important primary source material for all scholars working in New Age studies and contemporary religion... Moreover, it makes a significant contribution to the debate on definitions of the New Age, as the perennist categories appear useful and substantial. The book is engaging to read and should be of interest to students and others who are not academic specialists.’ Australian Religious Studies Review ’an original and rewarding study based on collection and analysis of the kind of empirical evidence central to explanation of the "new age" phenomenon.’ Religion