The Embodied Practices: Spirituality As a New Cultural Category

Thursday, 14 July 2016: 16:15
Location: Hörsaal 21 (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Maria Carla BERTOLO, University of Padova, Italy
The qualitative research I've done in latest two years (designed to examine the meanings assigned by individuals practicing to their mind-body practices, in particular those inspired by the tradition of Yoga), have enlightened, with evidence, the concept of spirituality as a new cultural category.

Contemporary spirituality exceeds the classic dichotomy between religious and secular, worldly and transcendent; instead, it concerns the achievement of self-transformation and self-awareness (through the body as a "medium"), to overcome constricting social conditions and hegemonic cultural representations, imposed and embedded (with reference to a dynamics interpretation of the Bourdieu’s concept of habitus).

Therefore, the "non-social" but cultural time/space of embodied practices is experienced as container for processes of re-existing; transformations, that are shaping a transnational counter-culture, connecting individuals and collective.

In fact, the survey results allow us to hypothesize that Spirituality, as cultural category, may provide an analytical tool for understanding how individuals are improving and\or re-actualizing meanings in the spheres of ethics and moral responsibility. A shift towards a vision of world and life as outcomes of interconnections and interdependencies, beyond the anthropocentric vision (Edgar Morin: 2015).

As other researches realized in other Western countries on similar topics confirm (Paul Heelas: 2005, 2007, 2008; Linda Woodhead: 2005, 2007) we are seeing embodied spiritualities as a phenomenon forging a new modus vivendi, that starts through what we can recognize as “anthropotechnics” (Peter Sloterdijk: 2013), useful for replacing basic needs, emotional and relational sphere, consumption practices. Paths for re-shaping, inventing, contexts of existential wellbeing and new ways for economic production.