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Title [sv]
Den förbisedda maskulina sidan av new age: "Österländsk" kampsportsandlighet
Title [en]
The neglected masculine side of new age: "Eastern" spirituality in martial arts
Abstract [en]
The project is the first full-scale study of spirituality in Japanese martial arts (Budo) in the West. The project argues that budo should be understood as part of the international new age milieu. Whereas new age is traditionally seen as dominated by women, 74% of budo practitioners are male. By including budo under the new age heading, the project reframes the claimed gender imbalance of the new age milieu. Ideals of spiritual masculinity in budo contain a critique of hegemonic, secular-Western masculinity, which will be analyzed. This study is the first major attempt to investigate masculinity in alternative spirituality, thus opening up important new venues of research for this field. It will demonstrate that this spirituality is the product of multidirectional cultural transfers between “East” and “West”, involving, e.g., esoteric teachings like Theosophy as a bridge, thus problematizing the established idea of an ongoing “Easternization”. Analyzing Swedish budo practitioners’ negotiations of the tension between secularity and spirituality, the project deepens the understanding of the secular condition in today’s Sweden. The project involves a discourse analysis of Swedish texts from ca. 1900–2020, a survey, participant observation in two clubs, and ca. 20 interviews. Among the interviewees are individuals who were present in the 1960s and 70s, resulting in an oral history of how notions of “Eastern” spirituality and masculinity in the budo milieu developed over time.
Principal InvestigatorFaxneld, Per
Coordinating organisation
Södertörn University
2023-01-01 - 2025-12-31
National Category
Religious StudiesHistory of Religions
DiVA, id: project:2969Project, id: 2022-02594_VR

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