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Title: Consuming the Self: New Age Spirituality as 'Social Product' in Consumer Society
Contributor(s): Rindfleish, JM (author)
Publication Date: 2005
Open Access: Yes
DOI: 10.1080/10253860500241930
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Abstract: In the late twentieth century there has been a proliferation, diversification and popularisation of New Age spiritual discourses and practices in Western industrialised nations. New Age spiritual thinkers such a Deepak Chopra, Ken Wilber, Gary Zukav and Shakti Gawain, have modified discourse and practices from Eastern and Western traditional religious beliefs, Western science and psychotherapy, to develop their own discourse and practices designed to assist individuals "transform" themselves. This article discusses the "commodified production of self-actualisation" in consumer society and discusses how the discourses and practices in selected texts from four New Age spiritual thinkers take the form of an ever-changing "social product". The analysis shows how the discourse and practices of New Age spiritual thinkers align themselves with consumptive behaviour by secularising, homogenising and over-simplifying scientific, social scientific and traditional religious discourse and practices into "social products" for consumption. The analysis also reveals that New Age spiritual thinkers are engaged in a process that could be described as the "consumption of the self". The implications of the "consumption of the self" will be discussed in terms of the way consumer society requires New Age "technologies of the self" to be continually redefined, restructured and repackaged in new and different forms.
Publication Type: Journal Article
Source of Publication: Consumption, Markets and Culture, 8(4), p. 343-360
Publisher: Taylor & Francis, Routledge
Place of Publication: Oxfordshire, UK
ISSN: 1025-3866
Field of Research (FOR): 200203 Consumption and Everyday Life
Peer Reviewed: Yes
HERDC Category Description: C1 Refereed Article in a Scholarly Journal
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