The Relational Dynamics of Enchantment and Sacralization - Changing the Terms of the Religion Versus Secularity Debate - Peik Ingman

The Relational Dynamics of Enchantment and Sacralization - Changing the Terms of the Religion Versus Secularity Debate - Peik Ingman

4. Empowerment and the Articulation of Agency among Finnish Yoga Practitioners

The Relational Dynamics of Enchantment and Sacralization - Changing the Terms of the Religion Versus Secularity Debate - Peik Ingman

Måns Broo [+-]
Åbo Akademi University
Dr. Måns Broo is lecturer in the Study of Religions at Åbo Akademi University, Finland, and an associate research fellow at the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies. His research interests include historical and contemporary forms of yoga, Gaudiya Vaishnavism and globalised Hinduism. His most recent monograph is a Finnish translation of the Shandilya- and Narada-bhakti-sutra (Gaudeamus 2021).
Christiane Königstedt [+-]
University of Leipzig
Christiane Königstedt has worked and taught as a research assistant at the University of Münster (Germany) and holds a Ph.D. from Leipzig University (Germany), which she was awarded for her thesis on possible reasons for the French secularist’s activities against contemporary non-traditional forms of religion. Currently she is working on a new project on shifting boundaries between the religious and the secular and has published articles about contemporary spirituality, its influence on the individual life conduct and New Religious Movements in relation to secular societies.

Description

Yoga structurally shares the reputation of empowering the individual with many other contemporary spiritual and esoteric practices. At the same time, these practitioners also share a tendency to externalize agency and attribute events and individual actions to higher powers or “fate”, or “destiny”. It is sometimes argued that engaging in such “spiritual” practices leads people to minimize their responsibility for their own lives. Thus, agency matters, and this chapter examines how enabled agency is attributed in narratives of Finnish yoga practitioners. How do practitioners view their relationship to their practice and what do they feel that they as individuals gain through it? These questions will be discussed using a notion of agency that emphasizes its socio-cultural intermediateness, focusing in this way on the reported influences behind agency insofar as it is presented as being co-composed of entangled human and non-human actors, on what life-reality is reflected and (re-)constructed, and on what the performing agent aims to construct in relation to others. Instead of the binary view of some critics, we found attributions of enabled agency to the individual to be interwoven with different externalizations thereof, which point towards new strategies that individuals choose to relate themselves to the world they live in.

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Citation

Broo, Måns; Königstedt, Christiane. 4. Empowerment and the Articulation of Agency among Finnish Yoga Practitioners. The Relational Dynamics of Enchantment and Sacralization - Changing the Terms of the Religion Versus Secularity Debate. Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom. p. 65-83 Dec 2016. ISBN 9781781794753. https://www.equinoxpub.com/home/view-chapter/?id=30128. Date accessed: 30 Sep 2022 doi: 10.1558/equinox.30128. Dec 2016

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