Projectraisetheroof's Blog

Research focus? re-enchantment

Re-enchantment – a little background

As I draft up a section about Mysticism and the Boutique event, I realize there is another theme that is recurring – something I have been interested in for yonks. I first came the concept whilst researching neo-tribalism and events several years ago. And this is the idea of re-mystification and re-enchantment.  Two terms I have always used synonymously which is probably a mistake, I can imagine that a ferocious academic debate on the exact nuanced difference of the terms has already been waged, one that I am probably going to need to become familiar with at some point.

So what does re-enchantment actually mean?  In short, it refers to the way that human beings re-clothe the world with meaning, mystery and wonder in an increasingly secular civilization. It also can be interpreted as an attempt to resist the despotic rationalism and materialism that looks no further than what can be outwardly observed, measured, bought, sold.  In fact, there are so many things that have been labeled as evidence for re-enchantment so as to make its definition problematic.  Some look at astrology, pseudo-scientific alternative medicine, crystals, folklore, social activism, environmental activism as proof of a type of re-enchanted movement that resists and escapes from a world of surfaces – the ‘flatlands’ of modernity, as the American philosopher Ken Wilber describes. But others, like George Ritzer, see the fervor of tourism, shopping, and consumer culture in general as filling the ‘hole’ left by the loss of religion.

And so the idea of re-enchantment is tied to secularization and the idea of disenchantment. This was something I had first heard about doing ALevel Sociology. Sociology of Religion, I think we were doing.  The emancipating floodlights of modernity, the rise of logical, scientific thought: this movement has freed us from the lies and the dogma of institutional religion, we were told. But it seems that it also condemned us to live on the ‘flatlands’ – the one-dimensional world.

And how is this connected to the contemporary events industry?  Watch this space….


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