Is Mind-Body-Spirit (MBS) Spirituality Necessarily Individualistic?

Thanks to Lloyd for this material:


Our colleague Dave Webster’s latest book Dispirited (Winchester/Washington: Zero Books, 2012) argues, among other things, that the form of spirituality promoted by MBS advocates tends to be individualistic and fosters disengagement from the socio-political sphere.  Webster is in good company as this is also argued by, amongst others, Robert N. Bellah, Richard Madsen, William M. Sullivan, Ann Swidler & Steven M. Tipton, Habits of the Heart: Individualism and Commitment in American Life (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1985); Fredric Jameson, Postmodernism or the Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism (Durham: Duke University Press, 1991); Charles Taylor, Varieties of Religion Today (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2002); and Adam Possamai, Religion and Popular Culture: A Hyper-Real Testament (Brussels: P.I.E. Peter Lang, 2007).  However, within the sociology of religion, this remains a contested area with a number of sociologists arguing for “engaged spirituality” rather than the “spiritual individualism” advocated by the above scholars.  A…

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One thought on “Is Mind-Body-Spirit (MBS) Spirituality Necessarily Individualistic?

  1. In the first place I think “altruism” is not opposed to individualism. Probably the other way around. The same goes for “voluntary associations and engagement in individual political activity such as signing petitions”. Then there is the always problematic use of quetionaires.

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