In this article I delineate the cultural structure underlying much (if not most) of what goes by “spirituality” in the popular discourse of twenty-first century liberal democracies—which I call the religion of the heart. I begin by reviewing the disparate academic literatures relating to the shift from “religion” to “spirituality,” explicating why the study of spirituality remains both marginalized within the sociology of religion and deeply fragmented. I then lay out the theoretical foundations of a cultural sociological approach to the study of religion, which I use to synthesize the existing sociological and historical literature on “spirituality.” I supplement this synthesis with data from my own empirical research in order to offer a systematic representation of the religion of the heart’s ten core tenets and how they relate to one another. I then conclude with a reflection on the implications my analysis holds for the sociology of contemporary religion.
American Journal of Cultural Sociology – Springer Journals
Published: Jun 10, 2020