The "New Age Movement" represents one of the most fascinating responses to the defects and potentialities of modern times. In his ground-breaking work, Paul Heelas traces the growth and development of the Movement, identifies some of its key characteristics, and provides a critical perspective. This unique and extensively documented volume provides a balanced treatment of New Age 'celebration of the self', and situates it within the broader cultural context for the first time.It shows how the New Age is ambivalently related to modernity, offering both a radical spiritual alternative to the mainstream and a celebration of some of the characteristics features of modern life. Heelas thus views the New Age both as an alternative counter cultural movement and as a spirituality of our times. The volume, with it clarity of form and its critique of conventional opinion, serves as an excellent starting point and mature contribution to the study of contemporary spirituality.
This will be a core text for courses on the Sociolofy of Religion, and should be of enormous interest to all those concerned with the study of culture and the utopian; anthropologists of modernity; historians of oppositional movements; theology students and clergy; and the New Age activists alike.
Paul Heelas is Director of the Centre for Study of Cultural Values and Reader in Religion and Modernity in the Department of Religious Studies at Lancaster University.
List of Illustrations. Acknowledgements. Introduction. PART I. PORTRAYAL. 1. Manifestations. 2. Developments. 3. The New. 4. Significance. PART II. APPEAL. 5. Uncertainties of Modernity. 6. Certainties of Modernity. PART III. EFFECTIVENESS. 7. Sel-Understanding. 8. The Future. Appendices: (1) Characterizations of the New Age; (2) Before and After Exegesis. References. Index.