Saturday, December 26, 2009
Friday, December 25, 2009
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Plastic Shamans and Astroturf Sun Dances: New Age Commercialization of Native American Spiritua Category: Religion and Philosophy
ic Shama ns and Astro turf Sun Dance s: New Age Comme rcial izati on of Nativ e Ameri can Spiri tuali ty
by Lisa Aldre
can India n Quart erly, Vol. 24, No. 3 ( 2000) , pp.
rsity of Nebra ska
ming Nativ e Ameri can Spiri tuali ty
rcial explo itati on of Nativ e Ameri can spiri tual tradi tions has perme ated the New Age movem ent since its emerg ence in the 1980s . Euro- Ameri cans profe ssing to be medic ine peopl e have profi ted from publi catio ns and works hops. Mass quant ities of produ cts promo ted as " Nativ e Ameri can sacre d objec ts" have been succe ssful ly sold by white entre prene urs to a large ly non- India n marke t. This essay begin s with an overv iew of these acts of comme rcial izati on as well as Nativ e Ameri cans' objec tions to such pract ices. Its real focus , howev er, is the motiv ation behin d the New Agers ' obses sion and consu mptio n of Nativ e Ameri can spiri tuali ty. Why do New Agers persi st in consu ming comme rcial ized Nativ e Ameri can spiri tuali ty? What kinds of self- artic ulate d defen ses do New Agers offer for these comme rcial pract ices? To answe r these quest ions, analy sis from a large r socia l and econo mic persp ectiv e is neede d to furth er under stand the motiv ation s behin d New Age consu mptio n.
In the so-
calle d postm odern cultu re of late consu mer capit alism , a signi fican t numbe r of white afflu ent subur ban and urban middl e- aged baby- boome rs compl ain of feeli ng uproo ted from cultu ral tradi tions , commu nity belon ging, and spiri tual meani ng. The New Age movem ent is one such respo nse to these feeli ngs. New Agers roman ticiz e an " authe ntic" and " tradi tiona l" Nativ e Ameri can cultu re whose spiri tuali ty can save them from their own sense of malai se. Howev er, as produ cts of the very consu mer cultu re they seek to escap e, these New Agers pursu e spiri tual meani ng and cultu ral ident ifica tion throu gh acts of purch ase. Altho ugh New Agers ident ify as a count ercul tural group , their comme rcial actio ns mesh quite well with mains tream capit alism . Ultim ately , their searc h for spiri tual and cultu ral meani ng throu gh mater ial acqui sitio n leave s them feeli ng unsat isfie d. The commu nity they seek is only imagi ned, a world conju red up by the promi ses of adver tised
by Lisa Aldre
In the so-