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Hubert Knoblauch

The last decades witnessed the rise of a new form of religiosity that is often referred to as spirituality. Whereas in scholarly research the idea dominated that spirituality poses an 'alternative' to religion, I want to argue that spirituality must not be necessarily conceived of in opposition to religion but rather transgressing the boundaries of the religious. By reason of this transgression spirituality becomes 'popular'. On the basis of a sociological definition of the spiritual that includes, among others, a decisive stress on the experience of great transcendencies, I want to back this view with empirical data. Since there is already a large amount of qualitative data, I am drawing here on large-scale quantitative data from a recent multinational survey. The data proves that huge numbers of people in various societies and religious cultures claim to have had experiences of great transcendencies. Thus the number of people who had such an experience indicates the quantitative aspect of what I call the popularity of spirituality.

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Anne Markey

This article explores the construction of boyhood in short fiction written by Patrick Pearse, the Irish nationalist and political activist executed for his leading role in the abortive Easter Rising of 1916. Pearse’s focus on the spiritual dimension of boyhood in his first collection of Irish-language stories, Íosagán agus Sgéalta Eile [Iosagan and Other Stories] (1907), simultaneously undermines and endorses imperialist and patriarchal assumptions about gender differentiation. In later stories published in An Mháthair agus sgéalta eile [The Mother and Other Stories] (1916), Pearse moved from advocacy of boyish spirituality to a more physical and militant representation of boyhood. This changing representation of Irish boyhood illustrates how Pearse’s increasing militarism reflected his ongoing construction of national identity.

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Assessing Ritual Experience in Contemporary Spiritualities

The Practice of ‘sharing’ in a New Age Variant of Umbanda

Viola Teisenhoffer

spirituality. Even though they ‘manifest’ themselves as easily recognizable spiritual entities of Umbanda, it is not rare that the Temple’s mediums, French and Brazilian, have visions about their entities as being Tibetan monks or North American shamans or

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Rutger Henneman

In the past, land agitations have had a clear spiritual and theological dimension. The morality of ownership over land itself is often questioned. Many see land as a community resource, and community ownership is an emergent 'model' of land tenure, both in word and in practice. This project on the role of spirituality and theology in Scotland's modern land reform is linked to research into the spirituality of community regeneration, supported by WWF International in Geneva. The findings show that for contemporary Scottish land reformers spiritual and theological dimensions are very important.

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Chen Bram

This article describes the new “field” of Sufi ideas and practices in Israeli Jewish society and analyzes the mutual relations between new Western Sufi influences and traditional Sufi orders of the Middle East. It focuses on the role of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in this evolving field. While the current rise of interest in spirituality is often described as emphasizing an apolitical approach, the evolving Sufi field in Israel is an example of a field that cannot detach itself from the overarching conflict. Moreover, efforts are made by some of the actors in this field to present Sufism as representing a different Islam and, hence, as a potential bridge between the rival parties. These approaches, as this article shows, have their own complexities and influences on the emerging Sufi field in Israel.

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The Religious Foundations of Capoeira Angola

The Cosmopolitics of an Apparently Non-religious Practice

Sergio González Varela

; Reis 2000 ), which state that although capoeira involves a form of spirituality, it is in essence ‘non-religious’, and why this has become the misguided standardized solution to the definitional problem. The second part moves the discussion from the

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The Perceptibility of the Invisible Cosmology

Religious Rituals and Embodied Spirituality among the Bahraini Shi‘a

El-Sayed El-Aswad

This article analyses the relationship between the seen and the unseen in the cosmology and practices of Bahraini Shi'a. Rather than contrasting the visible and the invisible, the study delineates the hierarchical relations between them, within a whole or cosmology, as reflected in various discursive and non-discursive actions that are supported by the religious beliefs of Bahraini Shi'a. Issues of the Hidden Imam, concealment, dissimulation and other unseen dimensions of the cosmos are discussed. The article finds that the Shi'a construct the invisible in their social world by using visible ways of creatively enacting their hidden thoughts and beliefs, as represented in their religious discourses, rituals and body symbolism. Their belief in a divine higher power provides a source of emotional, spiritual and socio-political empowerment.

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Mirjam Lücking

Whereas the word is that the congregations of the official Protestant Churches and the Catholic Church are shrinking and few people take part in the services, a clear increase can be seen in the area of popular esotericism and spirituality. In the double sense, the question arises here as to the relationship of 'word' and 'deed'. How do our traditions respond to the challenge to our ability to act in relation to the individual's search for spirituality and to responsibility for society? Anthropological ways of seeing modernity, secularisation and Christianity (1) indicate theories regarding developments in religion and Christianity, and these are illustrated by empirical examples of a spiritual society (2). This is discussed in terms of what it can mean to take on responsibility (3), and what the relationship is between this and piety's end in itself.

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Kyrgyzchylyk

Searching New Paradigms for Ancient Practices

Gulnara Aitpaeva

This essay discusses the concept of kyrgyzchylyk (rather inadequately rendered in English as 'Kyrgyzness') as a way of transcending different boundaries: the Soviet past, Koran-based Islam, rational thinking. Several aspects of the concept and its meaning in everyday life are discussed; in particular the idea of kyrgyzchylyk as spirituality is examined. Moreover, the concept can be seen as transcending the boundaries between traditional beliefs and Islam. Traditional practitioners - healers, clairvoyants, epic storytellers, sacred sites custodians and others - are seen as becoming powerful people through their practices, and the role of kyrgyzchylyk in the context of the traditional worldview is assessed.

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Zdeněk R. Nešpor

The Czech Republic is widely known as 'the least religious' country in the world. However, Czechs might be considered unchurched rather than nonreligious, with various forms of modern New Age spirituality steadily gaining in popularity. The question is, therefore, what is the position of religion - both 'traditional' and 'new' - within a 'non-believing' society? The article commences with a presentation of data taken from two recent sociological surveys on religion, but the author mainly exploits ethnographical research carried out in the medium-sized Czech town of Česká Lípa to address the issue. This research examined both 'old' and 'new' church religion, 'alternative' spiritual outlets, and the religious attitudes of the general population. The author concludes that the traditional religionists of various denominations, followers of the New Age movement(s), and the 'rest' of the population can be seen as three distinctive groups within society and that mutual understanding and acceptance are practically non-existent.