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Private Religion In The Public Sphere: Life Spirituality In Civil Society

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Chapter Summary

This chapter examines the concept of civil society from the perspective of life spirituality. It takes a closer look at how the theory of civil society has been implicitly used to marginalize the social contributions of religiously unaffiliated spiritual seekers. The main and somewhat contradictory axes of this argument are as follows: 1) life spirituality is institutionally decentralized and therefore lacks the means to mobilize followers and coordinate action; and 2) life spirituality is commodified and therefore is a by-product of or is aligned with the economic apparatus that jeopardizes the health of civil society as a realm autonomous from the market and the state. The chapter examines each of these points before turning to a reconsideration of their plausibility. It reveals how the assumption that life spirituality does not contribute to civil society is open to theoretical reframing.

Keywords: civil society; life spirituality; public sphere; religion



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