Shamanic performances on the urban scene: neo-shamanism in contemporary Sweden
1997 (English)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
This study deals with neo-shamanism, a set of notions and techniques that originated in the non-Western tribal societies and, within the framework of New Age spirituality, were adapted for the life of contemporary urban dwellers. Neo-shamanic practices are based on consciousness-altering techniques, when the Self is perceived to leave the body, to journey in other realities and to interact with the spiritual beings, enlisting their help for social, psychological, and physical healing.
The study shows how a group of people appropriates a set of new meanings, grounded in unusual bodily experience, validated by interpersonal narrative, and embodied in dramatic performance in both the physical and the imaginal realms. Through the media of performance the abstract meanings become lived reality turned into a common resource for creating culture. The creation of culture is seen as an interplay between individual experience and orchestrated expressions, whereby the imported notions and cultural forms are filled with personal and shared meaning.
The special character of thus created neo-shamanic culture lies in the fact that it emerges in the interstices betwixt and between the established social institutions, as a domain of imagination and play. Through performance and play the disembedded cultural systems, imported from distant times and places, get re-embedded in the local contexts and come to constitute community, locality, and tradition.
Fieldwork was carried out in 1992 - 1996 in Sweden, Denmark, England, and France. The main methods used were participant observation, reading printed matter, and interviews.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Stockholm University , 1997. , 315 p.
Stockholm studies in social anthropology, ISSN 0347-0830 ; 39
Research subject Social Anthropology
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-37128ISBN: 91-7153-691-4OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-37128DiVA: diva2:293071
1998-02-06, hörsal 1, hus A, Södra huset, Frescati, Stockholm, 10:00 (English)
Handelman, Don, Professor