Children of the New Age: A History of Spiritual Practices by Steven J. Sutcliffe

By Steven J. Sutcliffe

The 1st real social heritage of the phenomenon often called New Age tradition, young children of the hot Age provides an summary of the various kinds of New Age trust and perform from the Thirties to the current day. Drawing on unique ethnographic examine and infrequently visible archival fabric, it calls into query the belief that the hot Age is a discrete and unified 'movement', and divulges the unities and fractures glaring in modern New Age perform.

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J. 11 In his view ‘New Age’ is a genuine movement – it has no central headquarters, and its adherents hold widely varying opinions concerning its exact nature and goals. . The movement is, however loosely, held together by its very real transformative vision of a new world and of new people who will transcend the limitations of narrowly chauvinistic cultures, religions, and political systems, and will surpass the outmoded thought-forms of ‘old age’ theologies and beliefs. (Melton 1988: 35–6) Actually Melton is describing no more than a collection of individuals with a common utopian ideal.

Simmons 1990: 203–4) The search for descent . . shows the heterogeneity of what was imagined consistent with itself. (Foucault 1977: 147) In short, I argue in this book that ‘New Age’ was originally an apocalyptic emblem and is now a tag or codeword for a ‘spiritual’ idiom. In both cases ‘New Age’ lacks predictable content and fixed referents: it is always interpreted vernacularly, although the literalist tendencies of the earlier period allow far less hermeneutical latitude than do the polysemic fragmentations of post-1970s spirituality.

The nineteenth century was the end of an epoch; we, it is increasingly evident, are at the beginning of another. (Joad 1933: 23–4) This sense of an epochal turn – making a ‘clean break’ with the past – manifests in popular, middle-brow and elite cultures alike in the interwar period. In 1920s London, jazz and night-clubs were ‘characteristic iconoclasms’ (Seaman 1970: 23) and the power of popular music ensured that the first radio broadcast from the BBC’s new headquarters in London in 1932 featured a modern dance orchestra.

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