Spirituality and Politics? Spiritual Models of Culture and Methods of World-making in Postmodern Utopian Texts: Miriam Wallraven
Miriam WALLRAVENEberhard Karls Universität Tübingen, Germany
In the second half of the 20th century, in an apparently secular age, the separation of religion and politics has been a central principle in the Western world, ever perceived as threatened by a growing fundamentalism that aims at reinstating the primacy of religion over politics as governing principle of society and culture. At the same time, and despite claims to a secularisation resulting from the end of master narratives, spirituality – conceived as the personal experience of the numinous independent from institutionalised religion – has been on the rise in culture and in literature. Mainly dealing with postmodern American fiction, John McClure justly observes that spiritual texts “make room in the worlds they project for magic, miracles, metaphysical systems of retribution and restoration […] that their political analyses and prescriptions are intermittently but powerfully framed in terms of magical or religious conceptions of power” (143). I want to show that matters of spirituality, in their complex intersections with politics and gender, are negotiated in postmodern utopian fiction; however, academia has not focused on these intersections yet.
Hence, if utopia is seen as “no place” (outopia) or “good place” (eutopia) and traditionally as a space for ideal but non-existing political models of state, as well as a space for negotiating belief systems, the analysis of late 20th-century utopian texts sheds light on different possibilities of the relationship between spirituality and politics, countering our dominant political and spiritual paradigms....
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