New Age in Norway - Ingvild Sælid Gilhus

New Age in Norway - Ingvild Sælid Gilhus

From ‘Network’ to ‘Visions’: The Role of the Umbrella Organisation VisionWorks in the Norwegian Alternative Movement

New Age in Norway - Ingvild Sælid Gilhus

Margrethe Løøv [+-]
University of Bergen
Margrethe Løøv is a Ph.D. fellow at the Department of Archaeology, History, Cultural Studies and Religion at the University of Bergen. She holds a MA in Religious Studies from the University of Oslo and has previously studied in Hyderabad, Heidelberg and Montpellier. She has also been involved in a book project on the preface to the mission among the Sami people in Norway. Her research interests include the New Age movement and NRMs in general, quantitative approaches in the study of religion, the history of missions and the adaptation of Hindu/Buddhist meditation in the West.


The Norwegian New Age milieu has been marked by a quite extraordinary feature; a national umbrella organisation for alternative spirituality, therapies and lifestyles. Founded in 1992, VisionWorks (formerly Alternativt Nettverk) seeks to coordinate and promote actors within the ‘alternative’ field by providing common platforms for interaction. The organisation organises alternative fairs in Norway’s largest cities, issues the magazine Visjon, arranges lectures and runs a web site with news on activities and press coverage of alternative topics. This article will provide an outline of VisionWorks’ activities, and discuss the organisation’s role within the Norwegian New Age milieu. It will be argued that Alternativt Nettverk was instrumental in establishing a sense of communality among producers and users of New Age thought, services and goods in Norway. The organisation also strongly contributed to creating a public awareness of the existence of such phenomena in Norway. However, its heyday as the main agenda setter might be coming to an end. As the ‘alternative’ is becoming more widespread, new and competing network-structures have emerged. New media have reduced the importance of a centralised information source. Moreover, the past few years have seen fierce debates over VisionWorks’ regulation of its market. Although it probably will remain the largest and most influential network for New Age in Norway, VisionWorks is becoming one among many organising forces in a growing and increasingly diverse alternative landscape. The article will address the most important dynamics at play in this process.

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Løøv, Margrethe. From ‘Network’ to ‘Visions’: The Role of the Umbrella Organisation VisionWorks in the Norwegian Alternative Movement. New Age in Norway. Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom. p. 45-63 Mar 2017. ISBN 9781781794173. Date accessed: 27 Jan 2022 doi: 10.1558/equinox.28878. Mar 2017

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