Religious exoticism implies a deeply ambivalent relationship to otherness and to religion itself: traditional religious teachings are uprooted and fragmented in order to be appropriated as practical methods for personal growth. Western contemporary societies have seen the massive popularization of such exotic religious resources as yoga and meditation, Shamanism, Buddhism, Sufism and Kabbalah. Veronique Altglas shows that these trends inform us about how
religious resources are disseminated globally, as well as how the self is constructed in society. She uses two case studies: the Hindu-based movements in France and Britain that started in the 1970s, and the Kabbalah Centre in France, Britain, Brazil, and Israel. She draws upon major qualitative and
cross-cultural empirical investigations to conceptualize religious exoticism and offer a nuanced and original understanding of its contemporary significance. From Yoga to Kabbalah broadens scholarly understanding of the globalization of religion, how religions are modified through cultural encounters, and of religious life in neoliberal societies.
Veronique Altglas is Lecturer in Sociology at Queen's University Belfast. She has conducted research on the transnational expansion of neo-Hindu movements, the management of minority religions in France and Britain, and anti-Semitism.
Introduction ; Chapter 1: The Cultural and Historical Dimensions of Religious Exoticism ; Chapter 2: Religious Exoticism, Belonging and Identities: the Discomfort of Bricolage ; Chapter 3: Universalizing and De-contextualizing Exotic Religious Resources ; Chapter 4: Universalistic Ambitions, Local Realities: Bricolage in (national) context ; Chapter 5: The Psychologization of Exotic Religious Resources ; Chapter 6: Bricolage and the Social Significance of Self-realization ; Chapter 7: Religious Exoticism and the "New Petite Bourgeoisie" ; Conclusion ; References ; Index