The purpose of the Annual Review of the Sociology of Religion (ARSR) is to investigate the “new” role of religion in the contemporary world, which is characterized by cultural pluralism and religious individualism.
It is the aim of the ARSR to combine different methods within the social scientific study of religion. The ARSR employs an interdisciplinary and comparative approach at an international level, to describe and interpret the complexity of religious phenomena within different geopolitical situations, highlighting similarities and discontinuities. Dealing with a single theme in each volume, the ARSR intends to tackle the relationship between the practices and the dynamics of everyday life and the different religions and spiritualities, within the framework of post-secular society. All contributions are welcome, both those studying organizational aspects and those exploring individual religiosity.
The series published an average of one volume per year over the last 5 years.
Editors: Enzo Pace, Luigi Berzano and Giuseppe Giordan
Editorial Board: Peter Beyer (University of Ottawa), Anthony Blasi (Tennessee State University), Olga Breskaya (University of Padova), Roberto Cipriani (Università di Roma Tre), Xavier Costa (Universidad de Valencia), Franco Garelli (Università di Torino) Gustavo Guizzardi (Università di Padova), Dick Houtman (Erasmus University, Rotterdam), Solange Lefebvre (Université de Montréal), Patrick Michel (CNRS, Paris), Ari Pedro Oro (Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul), Adam Possamai (University of Western Sydney), Ole Riis (Agder University), Susumu Shimazono (University of Tokyo), William H. Swatos, Jr. (Augustana College), Jean-Paul Willaime (EPHE, Sorbonne), Monika Wohlrab-Sahr (University of Leipzig), Linda Woodhead (Lancaster University), Fenggang Yang (Purdue University) and Sinisa Zrinscak (University of Zagreb)
Volume 14 (Forthcoming 2023)
The Sociology of Yoga, Meditation, and Asian Asceticism Edited by Lionel Obadia (University of Lyon 2) and Enzo Pace (University of Padova)
The irresistible yet unexpected diffusion 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, secularized techniques of well-being. These techniques have infused first alternative religiosities and finally mainstream religions, beyond all geographic, social and cultural boundaries, and affected them more or less deeply. The ascetic techniques also lie in the heat 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 specific sub-field 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 diffusion 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