Marta Trzebiatowska and Steve Bruce

in Why are Women more Religious than Men?

Published in print September 2012 | ISBN: 9780199608102
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191744730 | DOI:

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The preponderance of women in the world of alternative spirituality has been explained by their double alienation. The bureaucratic rationality of the modern world and the role-based nature of social interaction prevent us forming authentic relationships and being ‘ourselves’. Unlike men, women cannot find relief in the private sphere because they are oppressed and exploited by both the family and the workplace. So they seek authenticity in spiritual development. This chapter demonstrates that as well as failing the test of scale, explaining the appeal of the New Age by social strain fails the test of more detailed examination of the demographics of interest in spirituality. Detailed examination of survey data finds that better off, better educated women are more likely than the poor and dispossessed to be involved in spiritual seeking and physical health, which suggests the explanation lies more in the continuation of prior interests and experiences from one sphere of life to another than in any notion of deprivation and compensation. The gendering of the holistic milieu is done in the construction of the activities as they are designed to recruit women in the first place.

Keywords: New Age; double alienation; deprivation-compensation; spiritual seeking; prior interests; gendering of spiritual activities; health

Chapter.  6639 words. 

Subjects: Religious Studies

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