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Accepted Paper:

Neoliberal Culture, Psychology, and Religion: Monetizing Existence  
Alvin Dueck (Fuller Graduate School of Psychology)

Paper short abstract:

It is proposed that cultural psychology of religion has been colonized by the values and ontology of Western neoliberalism. A neoliberal psychology is often blind to the way it constructs the subject and unwittingly views the neoliberal subject as generally human rather than religious.

Paper long abstract:

Al Dueck, Neoliberal Culture, Psychology, and Religion: Monetizing Existence


This chapter addresses the role of neoliberalism in cultural psychology of religion. The argument is as follows.

a) Neoliberalism is an aggressive movement that has impacted most every aspect of human existence and has spread to most cultures of the world.

b) Psychologists have been so thoroughly colonized by neoliberal culture that they may mistake the products of their research as descriptions of human nature – oblivious to the presence and impact of neoliberal culture.

Moreover, c) unconsciously neoliberal psychotherapists may abet this culture by socializing their clients into its worldview.

d) Not only the fields of psychology and psychotherapy have been colonized by neoliberalism but religion as well: the instrumentalization of religion, the “health and wealth” gospel, the focus on individual conversion or spiritual formation, the marginalization of the religious community, freedom from dogma and religious injunctions, the importance of material success (megachurches).

And e) since neoliberalism has been exported internationally, in a cultural psychology of religion psychologists may be oblivious in their research or clinical practice to the way persons from other cultures may also be colonized by neoliberalism because of their rootedness in a culture saturated with neoliberal ideology. By default, the psychology of religion will treat the subject uncritically, as generically human abstracted from his or her cultural (that is, neoliberal) context and not “see” the presence of neoliberalism at all. However, not to be aware of the neoliberalism is to reinforce it.

Panel P06a
AI-assisted technology and the market: critical impacts on human societies
  Session 1 Thursday 9 June, 2022, -