The post-secular position and enchanted bodies


  • Terhi Utriainen University of Helsinki


Postsecularism, Religious change, Body, Human, Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Gender, Women, Secularization (Sociology), Mind and body, Health, Holism, Feminist theory, Contentment, Spirituality


‘The challenge of modernity is to live without illusions and without becoming disillusioned.’ This diagnosis of modern life, given by Gramsci, can be translated as pointing towards varying positions between secularity (even secularism), on the one hand, and (religious or pol­itical) belief and commitment on the other. This crossroads of belief and disbelief, or enchantment and disenchantment, is topical in new ways after recent revisions of secularization theories and the current revitalization of religions. Moreover, it also has bearings on how people bring together religions and bodies. The question examined in this article is: In what ways can diverse religious and spiritual practices bring about and construct new kinds of enchanted embodiments within contemporary life, and what is being done with these embodiments, both by people themselves and by scholars of religion. First, the author outlines a preliminary diagnosis of the current situation, which is approached as the desire for enchanted bodies. After that three ideal types of practices by which this desire could be seen to be enacted are tentatively identified. And finally, some implications of this diagnosis for the study of religion today are considered.



How to Cite

Utriainen, T. (2011). The post-secular position and enchanted bodies. Scripta Instituti Donneriani Aboensis, 23, 417–432.