material-mystery thesis, Neopaganism, Marxism, religion, spirituality, Critical Theory




The paper applies Critical Theory to understand the progressive and oppressive potential of contemporary religious revival in the United States. The analysis focuses on Neopaganism as a progressive spirituality, possibly compatible with Marxist theory. Whether religion is progressive (or oppressive/reactionary) depends not on the content of beliefs, but rather, on the type of social relationship a religion establishes between the individual and society. The paper treats Neopaganism and Marxism as practices and worldviews that often inform social movements and sometimes become the basis of functioning communities. They at once correspond to political-economic agendas, but both also assert the cultural foundations of life – the symbolic expression of shared meaning as the legitimization of social relations. In conclusion, Marxism must develop a spiritual component to survive in and critique modern society, and to posit a vision of the future that might exert actual social influence. To accomplish this, the paper proposes the material-mystery thesis.


Original Citation: Lundskow, George N. "Marxist Class-Cultural Spirituality in Theory and Practice." Critical Sociology 31, no. 1-2 (2005): 213-241.

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