Reflexive Religion: The New Age in Brazil and Beyond


Reflexive Religion: The New Age in Brazil and Beyond examines the rise of alternative spiritualities in contemporary Brazil. Masterfully combining late modern theory with multi-site ethnographies of the New Age, it explains how traditional religion is being transformed by processes of reflexivity, globalization and individualism. The book unveils how the New Age has entered Brazil, was adapted to local Catholic, Spiritist and psychology cultures, and more recently how the Brazilian Nova Era re-enters transnational circuits of spiritual practice. It closely examines Paulo Coelho (spiritualist novels), Projectiology (astral projection) and Santo Daime (neo-shamanism) to understand the broader “new agerization” of Christianity and Spiritualism. Reflexive Religion offers a compelling account of how the religious field is being updated under late modern conditions.
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Biographical Note

Anthony D’Andrea has a PhD in Anthropology from the University of Chicago, where he has been a Research Associate at the Center for Latin American Studies. He authored Global Nomads: Techno and New Age as Transnational Countercultures in Ibiza and Goa (Routledge, 2007) and has published extensively on topics of cultural globalization, mobility and religion.

Table of contents

Acknowledgements 1 Introduction to the Spirit of the New Age in Brazil  1 Subtle Patterns of New Age Conversion  2 Problematizing the Modern Self  3 Post-Traditional Religiosities: Individualism and Reflexivity  4 Methodological Challenges: Identifying New Agers  5 Book Structure: Native Expressions and a General Theory of the New Age 2 Post-Traditional Religiosities: Reflexivity and Individualism Transforming the Religious Field  1 Reflexivity in Contemporary Religions: From Totalization to Privatization  2 The Crisis of Modernity and the Rise of Post-Traditional Religiosities  3 Revisiting Self-Realization 3 Sociological Overview of the New Age  1 Introduction: Globalization of Reflexive Mysticism  2 Sociological Aspects of the New Age   2.1 Social Class and Distinction   2.2 Gender and Race   2.3 Generational Differences  3 Reflexive Xenophilia  4 Conclusion: The Reflexivity of Nomadic Spiritualities 4 The Perfect Self: Neo-Enlightenment and Romanticism in New Religious Forms  1 Enlightenment and Romanticism: From Reason to Self-Shaping  2 The Duality Today  3 Further Interconnections: Love and Power in Tension 5 Ethnology of the New Age in Brazil: Hybridism, Individualism and Reflexivity  1 Beliefs in Brazilian New Age  2 Genealogy of the Term  3 Major Theoretical Options  4 Ethnological Categories of the New Age   4.1 Hybridism   4.2 Individualism   4.3 Experimentalism   4.4 Reflexivity  5 New Age as the Popularization of an Elite Mysticism 6 The New Age in Brazil: Religious Individualism between Spiritism and Psychological Culture  1 Mapping the New Age in Brazil  2 Mapping the New Age in the Brazilian Religious Field 7 Psychological Culture: Management, Therapy and Art in the New Age  1 Therapy, Management and Reflexivity  2 Conclusion: Art as Emancipatory Spirituality 8 The New Age Christianity of Paulo Coelho  1 “Invisible Religion” in Rio de Janeiro  2 The New Age Christianity of Paulo Coelho  3 New Age References  4 Christian References  5 New Age and Catholicism in Perspective  6 The Cultural Meaning of Post-Traditional Christianity 9 New Age Spiritism: The Supernatural between “The Doctrine” and Reflexivity  1 The Common Sources of Spiritism and New Age in Brazil  2 The Fragmentation of Spiritism under New Age Pressures  3 Conclusion: The New Agerization of Brazilian Religions 10 Niche Globalization of a Brazilian Parascience: The Case of Projectiology/Conscientiology  1 Structure and Agency in Organizational Growth  2 Out-of-Body Experience, Parascience and Niche Globalization  3 Parasciences and Globalization: New Age Hybrids between Science and Religion  4 Secular Spirituality: Organization, Cosmology and Ethos of Projectiology  5 From Ipanema to China: Spaces, Channels and Barriers to Projectiology  6 Conclusion: National Cosmologies and Transnational Possibilities 11 New Age in Latin America: From Gregarious Syncretism to Reflexive Individualism  1 What’s New in the New Age?  2 Reflexivity and Individualism in Post-Traditional Religiosities  3 New Age Studies in Latin America  4 Gregariousness and Individualism in Latin American New Age  5 New Religious Studies as Pseudo-New Age  6 Conclusion: New Age as Post-Traditional Spiritualities of the Self 12 Final Thoughts: The New Age as a Religious Pragmatic of Late Modernity  1 The Logic of Post-Traditional Religiosities  2 The Rise of Reflexive Religiosities  3 Neither Secularization nor Re-Enchantment Bibliography Index


All interested in new forms of religiosity, psychology of religion, and globalization studies, with a focus on the New Age and Brazil.