Mini-atelier financé par Tepsis

Religieux ou spirituel ?

26 mars 2019, 14h-17h

ENS – Salle R1-07

48 bd. Jourdan,  Paris 14e



Argumentaire. La distinction entre religieux et spirituel est ancienne et recouvre une série d’enjeux en termes de rapport à l’institution, de régime de légitimité et d’authenticité. Elle a été réaffirmée notamment dans des travaux de sociologie sur la génération des Baby Boomers et sur les « nouveaux mouvements religieux », pour rendre compte des pratiques religieuses contemporaines en insistant plus particulièrement sur l’émancipation des individus croyants vis-à-vis des systèmes d’encadrement institutionnel. Comme l’a noté le sociologue Matthew Wood, cette acclimatation de la notion de « spirituel » au sein de la sociologie tend souvent à sous-estimer les rapports de pouvoir et les inégalités de capitaux qui président aux « bricolages » individuels. On interrogera donc la genèse et les effets de cette acclimatation pour évaluer la pertinence sociologique de l’opposition religieux/spirituel.

Véronique Altglas (Queen’s University Belfast). Repenser les relations entre pouvoir et religion: la question de la ’spiritualité’.

Religion in modernity is increasingly thought of as individual-centred and shaped by self-authority. This would explain the decline of – constraining, coercive – organised and inherited religions and the ascendance of ‘spirituality’, based on subjective experience and responding to universal human needs for meaning and fulfilment. This paper will argue that such a paradigm conflates emic and etic discourses and reiterates common sense assumptions about power. Bringing the social back into the sociology of deregulated forms of religion involves the understanding of individuals’ discourses and action, including claims of self-authority and heterodox religious choices, as manifestations of social trends. Individualism and subjectivism actually contribute to a new way of regulating social actors, through individual responsibility and self-discipline. Progressive liberal ideals underlie the polar distinction religion / spirituality and confer the consequent normative and ethnocentric implications: we also need to ponder the assumption that individuals inherently seek emancipation from social norms. Indeed, agency is not only a way of resisting norms but also as a way of inhabiting them.

Sean McCloud (University of North Carolina at Charlotte). Everything Blended: Engaging Combinations, Appropriations, Bricolage, and Syncretisms in Our Teaching and Research

In this communication I do two things. First, I illustrate that the combining and blending of practices in what practitioners describe as « religion » or « spirituality, » while perhaps more visible in the contemporary period, is a constant in the history of American religions. Second, I provide  a case study that heeds the anthropologist Charles Stewart’s suggestion that one useful way to approach syncretism (and its synonyms, such as bricolage and combining) is by examining the discourses and debates that individuals and groups have over what activities and ideas are viewed as such. Overall here I hope to open a discussion on how the blending and combining of cultural elements are understood and engaged in our classrooms and research. I am interested in the terms we use to describe the appropriations of various idioms in religious practice and how these combinative actions are infused with and spurred by power differentials. Actively at work on their worlds within the constraints of their social locations, those we study and teach about have sought out that which worked and duct-taped together what was at hand. But, one can ask, “So what?” In terms of the analysis of religion, one simple answer would be that attention to the active and unnoticed appropriation of various elements should give us pause when we teach and write about religion solely through the trope of religious traditions. The process of ordering the messiness of “religion” by narrowing it to the category of traditions conceals more than it reveals. But even more, we need to develop a method for examining the appropriative bricolage that makes up religious practices. If, indeed, everything is always already blended, then what do we do with that information, other than point it out? In this workshop I am interested in thinking about how the subject of religious/cultural combining might be studies and taught with attention to categories such as « religious » versus « spiritual, » power, and notions such as « tradition. »

Organisateurs : Yannick Fer et Patrick Michel (Centre Maurice Halbwachs)