Journal Article

Speaking of Meaning in Modernity: Reflexive Spirituality as a Cultural Resource

Kelly Besecke

in Sociology of Religion

Published on behalf of Association for the Sociology of Religion

Volume 62, issue 3, pages 365-381
Published in print January 2001 | ISSN: 1069-4404
Published online January 2001 | e-ISSN: 1759-8818 | DOI:
Speaking of Meaning in Modernity: Reflexive Spirituality as a Cultural Resource

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The problem of meaninglessness in modern society has been an important topic since Max Weber wrote of the “disenchantment of the world.” Contemporary social theory suggests that such meaninglessness is attributable in part to the lack of a language that can adequately relate people to transcendent meanings without sacrificing a commitment to modern rationality. I suggest that such a language can be found in a contemporary form of religious expression. Reflexive spirituality, which Wade Clark Roof has identified as a common form of individual religiosity in the contemporary United States, can also be understood as a cultural “language” people use to talk with each other about transcendent meaning. I argue that the language of reflexive spirituality incorporates simultaneous commitments to modern rationality and to the value of transcendent meaning. Reflexive spirituality is thus a cultural resource that modern Americans are using to create guiding transcendent meanings for a rationalized society.

Journal Article.  0 words. 

Subjects: Religion ; Sociology of Religion

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