The Social Roots and Meaning of Trance and Possession

Ioan M. Lewis

in The Oxford Handbook of the Sociology of Religion

Published in print February 2011 | ISBN: 9780199588961
Published online September 2009 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Religion and Theology

 The Social Roots and Meaning of Trance and Possession

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The sociology of religion has made little effort to understand the sociological dimensions of ecstatic forms of religion, including trance and/or possession, forms that are central to the religion and spirituality of people worldwide. Looking at the social roots and meaning of trance and possession, this article explores the correspondence between religious and sexual experience through an examination of altered states of consciousness most frequently externalised in behaviour through trance.

Keywords: trance states; spirituality; altered consciousness; sexual experience; religious experience; shamanism

Article.  6175 words. 

Subjects: Religion ; Sociology of Religion

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