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From Yoga to KabbalahReligious Exoticism and the Logics of Bricolage$
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Véronique Altglas

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199997626

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199997626.001.0001

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Bricolage and the Social Significance of Self-Realization

Bricolage and the Social Significance of Self-Realization

(p.239) 6 Bricolage and the Social Significance of Self-Realization
From Yoga to Kabbalah

Véronique Altglas

Oxford University Press

The quest for self-realization is central to the dissemination of exotic religious resources. This chapter shows that such a pursuit does not provide evidence for liberation from social norms and values. On the contrary, the realization of the self is an imperative in conformity with wider social constraints. It also suggests that the self has become the locus of discipline and conformity to collective norms. Realizing the self entails improving oneself, evaluating and controlling one’s thoughts, emotions, and behaviors, learning appropriate techniques to do so, and cultivating moral virtues. In fact, “spirituality,” as quest for self-realization, presents itself as a process through which individuals become the active and autonomous agents of their own regulation. Ultimately, the realization of the self (and what kind of self is desired to be realized) is not “natural” but reflects neoliberalism’s political and economic structures.

Keywords:   autonomous, self-realization, conformity, imperative, discipline, neoliberalism

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