Another event I’m taking part in. Consider popping along if you’re in London on the 7th of February. Some interesting topics and some very good speakers. Click the “More” thingy to see the full line-up and booking details.
Inform Winter Seminar – Innovation, Violence and Paralysis: How do Minority Religions Cope with Uncertainty?
Saturday, 7 February 2015; 9.30am – 5.00pm
New Academic Building, London School of Economics.
What happens when groups lose control of their own destiny? Whether it leads to violence, as in the case of Aum Shinrikyo’s response to a potential police investigation in 1995, or to non-violent innovations, as found in minority religions following the death of their founders or leaders, uncertainty and insecurity can lead to great change in the mission and even teachings of religious groups. What does it take to bring back certainty? Bringing together past and current members, as well as academics and practitioners this seminar will explore how minority religions and their members work with notions of uncertainty and insecurity.
Here, for your delectation, is my presentation from the British Sociological Association Sociology of Religion study group – SOCREL – conference, 2012, entitled Universalising the Other: Reptilians, the New Age and Globalisation. It was part of a panel on “Religious Conspiracies” which I organised. Here’s the abstract:
This paper examines belief systems which emerged during the 1990s and broadened their appeal over the last decade, blending popular conspiracy theories with New Age narratives. Typically, they propose that an occluded elite work to controll and oppress humanity, physically aand spiritually, but that when enough individuals become cognisant of their oppression, the transformation and emancipation of humanity will occur. Using David Icke’s notorious Reptilian thesis as an example, I argue that these metaphysical conspiracist narratives present a conception of the Other which locates the origin of social inequity in non-human agencies, rather than ethnic or ideological differences. Thus, Icke creates a popular theodicy which accounts for the problem of evil within a globalised and pantheistic worldview. i argue that Icke’s thesis – and metaphysical conspiracism more broadly – is an attempt to explain away the failure of the New Age and the Enlightenment project more broadly to create a world of peace and plenty in the 20th Century.
As you listen to the audio (player below), you can follow the powerpoint slides on the embedded player underneath. I hope you enjoy.