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New Forms of Public Religion: Spirituality in Global Civil Society

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Chapter Summary

This chapter clarifies the meaning of spirituality, and demonstrates the inadequacy of approaches which insists that it should be categorised as 'private'. It suggests that spirituality like some other forms of contemporary religion is better understood as a project in global civil society. Different forms of spirituality favour different social forms, and combinations of forms. It is illuminating to frame spirituality as a project in global civil society, not least because of its longstanding cultural influence; its strong normative dimension; its global origins, concerns and reach; its multifarious and only partially co-ordinated constituent parts; its significant converging values and goals; the sense of some shared identity and common purpose on the part of many of those involved. This approach has the benefit of making sense of the public nature of spirituality, without judging it against an anachronistic model of public religion.

Keywords: global civil society; public religion; spirituality



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