Strategy in a religious network: a Bourdieuian critique of the sociology of spirituality

Wood, M. and Bunn, C. (2009) Strategy in a religious network: a Bourdieuian critique of the sociology of spirituality. Sociology, 43(2), pp. 286-303. (doi: 10.1177/0038038508101166)

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Within the sociology of religion there has emerged a discourse on spirituality that views contemporary developments as involving the assertion of individuals' self-authority.This perspective's theoretical roots have been persistently criticized for their conceptualization of agency; in contrast, this article draws on Bourdieu's concept of strategy to examine action in an English religious network of the sort often classified as `New Age'. In particular, one informant is discussed in order to provide focus for an understanding of what Lahire calls sociology at the level of the individual. Her actions, better explained as strategic improvisations than as choices made on the basis of self-authority, help to illuminate the peculiarities of this religious setting, which is characterized in terms of `nonformativeness'. By emphasizing social contextualization, this approach addresses people's meaningful actions in a way that may be applied not only more widely within the religious field but also in other fields of action.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Bunn, Dr Christopher
Authors: Wood, M., and Bunn, C.
Subjects:H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Health & Wellbeing > Social Scientists working in Health and Wellbeing
College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences
Journal Name:Sociology
Publisher:Sage Publications Ltd.
ISSN (Online):1469-8684

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