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Title: New Age Spirituality in Australia Cohesion, Motivations, Ideology and Influences
Contributor(s): Hoo, Misha  (author)orcid ; McLean, Lesley  (supervisor)orcid ; Lynch, Anthony  (supervisor)orcid 
Conferred Date: 2020-11-04
Copyright Date: 2020-07-01
Thesis Restriction Date until: 2025-11-04
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New Age spirituality has become increasingly popular in Western cultures since the 1970s and has established itself as an important feature of the social and religious landscape. New Age is best described as a loosely affiliated network with a common lingua franca and a shared interest in various esoteric or ‘alternative’ spiritual approaches. Although New Age actors are renowned for eschewing religious dogma, they nonetheless often exhibit shared ideological positions such as a belief in reincarnation or the notion that life is a learning experience for the soul. In New Age praxis, disciplines such as yoga and meditation, tarot and divination, spiritual channelling and holistic therapies are understood through the lenses of self-actualisation and spiritual growth. As Western cultures undergo processes of detraditionalisation and re-enchantment, targeted research to investigate the growth and development of New Age spirituality constitutes an important challenge for scholars of religion and Western culture more generally. This thesis contributes new research from the Australian New Age milieu with data collected through a nationwide survey and a social media study of New Age Facebook groups. This research demonstrates that New Age spirituality is widespread across Australia and socially connected through a network of online forums. These Facebook groups act as community noticeboards, localised markets to promote the business of spirituality and decentralised institutional forms which disseminate ideologies. Although New Age has been described as increasingly diffuse, this study finds that New Age in Australia exhibits a cohesive shared culture with a coherent ideology. Whilst New Age actors have often been characterized as ‘seekers’ who drift from one spiritual teaching to another or ‘consumers’ who frequent the spiritual supermarket, this research details New Age spirituality as a conscientious practice. Since New Age is chiefly comprised of women, this thesis takes a gendered approach to the evidence and argues that New Age claims to sacredness and knowledge constitute a challenge to the dominant power structures of modern Western culture. Despite claims the New Age movement has died or dissolved into the general culture, this research demonstrates it is very much alive in Australia today.

Publication Type: Thesis Masters Research
Fields of Research (FoR) 2008: 220405 Religion and Society
220499 Religion and Religious Studies not elsewhere classified
229999 Philosophy and Religious Studies not elsewhere classified
Fields of Research (FoR) 2020: 500405 Religion, society and culture
Socio-Economic Objective (SEO) 2008: 950404 Religion and Society
959999 Cultural Understanding not elsewhere classified
970122 Expanding Knowledge in Philosophy and Religious Studies
Socio-Economic Objective (SEO) 2020: 130501 Religion and society
280119 Expanding knowledge in philosophy and religious studies
HERDC Category Description: T1 Thesis - Masters Degree by Research
Description: Please contact if you require access to this thesis for the purpose of research or study.
Appears in Collections:School of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences
Thesis Masters Research

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