The irresistible yet unexpected difusion at a global scale and appropriation of yoga, meditation and ascetic practices are undoubtedly key features of the changing landscape of religion at the turn of the 20th and 21st centuries. It comes under a variety of forms, from
traditional and community-based ritualized practices to individualized and secularized techniques of well-being.
These techniques have infused rst alternative religiosities and nally mainstream religions, beyond all geographic, social and cultural boundaries, and afected them more or less deeply. The ascetic techniques denitely lie in the heart of the “spiritual revolution” described by Heelas and Woodhead in the mid-2000s, and the “spiritual turn” operating in religious studies in parallel.
For the moment, research devoted to yoga, meditation, and introspective bodily techniques have mainly been conducted in the domain of psychology and mind sciences, history and cultural areas. Sociological approaches remain scarce and disseminated. Yet, since Weber’s pioneering works, asceticism is far from being unknown in sociology. This special issue aims at mapping the empirical forms of yoga, meditation and introspective techniques expanding worldwide; exploring new conceptual and methodological discussions in sociology of religions; questioning the possibility to circumscribe a specic sub-eld in the sociology of religions, devoted to modern Asian-inspired ascetic practices
Topics might include, but are by no means limited to:
- the role of new technologies in the difusion and transformation of yoga and meditation
- the impacts of meditative and introspective techniques on representations and uses of the body in modernity
- the role of orientalism and eastern imagination in the transformation of religious practices,
beliefs, and religious systems
- sociological variations among users (class, gender, regions, cultural backgrounds ...)
- moral and symbolic economies of well-being and spirituality in relation to ascetic techniques
- impacts on the conception of religion, adherence, commitment and other dimensions of religious life
- transformations of broader sociological theories
Please send proposals (400 words) and a brief bio to Lionel Obadia (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Ph D professor in Anthropology