Exoticism, Religious

The popularization of yoga and meditation, public curiosity about shamanism and Sufism, or the more recent craze for Kabbalah all demonstrate the appeal of foreign religious traditions in contemporary Euro-American societies. This poses vital questions for the sociology of religion: Why are individuals attracted to foreign religions? How do they engage with new beliefs and practices? Does it mean people in these societies have become cosmopolitans, skilled to navigate all cultures? Yet such appeal for the foreign has not led to mass conversions to Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, or Judaism. Why is that? The concept of exoticism, applied to religion, allows these questions to be addressed by shedding light on the ways in which foreign religions are imagined and explored.

Exoticism is a specific form of aesthetic ...

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