Religious Engagement and Spiritual Empowerment in Asian Countries: Quest for Human Security and Self-Fulfilment

Thursday, 14 July 2016: 14:15-15:45
Location: Hörsaal 42 (Main Building)
RC22 Sociology of Religion (host committee)

Language: English

This session first focuses on the “compressed modernity” in Asian countries, in which rapid industrialization and urbanization, accompanied by traditional institutions and mind-set, have increased national wealth while social contradictions such as poverty, ethnic segregation, and the battle for civil rights still exist. At present, Christian churches, Buddhist temples, and other religious institutions, associated with faith-based NGOs/NPOs are engaged in eliminating social problems through social support to needy and vulnerable people. Even upper-middle class in cities struggle for survival and seek for comfort in traditional and New Age healing.
We will consider cases of religious movements and spiritual empowerment which suffice peoples’ quest for human security and self-fulfillment. Although Engaged Buddhism in Southeast Asia, Christian charitable actions, and Muslim social welfare groups are well known, there are many other cases, such as diffused religiosities in reciprocal relations in social life, sacred rites of passage and pilgrimage, and spiritual empowerment in psychotherapy and business. 
Through the comparison between different countries and religions, we could consider various aspects of “compressed modernity” in Asia and the response offered by religions. In so doing, we could extend our vision of the public sphere and religious engagement, which have been so far mainly discussed in the Western society and the Christian culture.
Session Organizer:
Yoshihide SAKURAI, Hokkaido University, Graduate School of Letters, Japan, Japan
Meredith MCGUIRE, Trinity University, USA
Girls Meet Deities: Deities in Japanese Pop Culture
Kikuko HIRAFUJI, Kokugakuin University, Japan
Beyond Civil Society: Spiritual Empowerment, Work, and Social Engagement in China
Francis LIM, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore
Spiritual Engagement in Post-Disaster Resettlement and Environmental Risk Governance
Praveena RAJKOBAL, Deakin University, Australia, Australia