This panel aims to explore the complex symbolic, ritual, and sociocultural mobility of contemporary religiosity, and how the notion of the sacred can be reconfigured and re-tracked, through ethnographically-based papers.
Placing particular emphasis on the study of the so-called "alternative spiritualities", this panel seeks to explore the notion of the sacred, as it is perceived, reconfigured and re-tracked in the changing landscape of (western) contemporary religiosity. Recent and current socio-economic and political changes have shaped the practice of contemporary religiosity both at a sociocultural and at a personal level. Observing contemporary spiritual practices, one can see how the notion of the sacred has migrated from ontological instances to individual perceptions. In this panel we aim to track the variety of pathways, deviations or even dead-ends that practitioners of alternative spirituality follow or reject in various sociocultural contexts, how they construct their own itineraries of religious belonging, focusing on the multiple and at times fluid ways in which they re-imagine and re-track the 'sacred'. We therefore invite the submission of ethnographically-based papers that explore these diverse, fluid and complex mobilities; we are especially interested in receiving contributions that focus on the study of practices involving a communication with spiritual beings (such as angels, spirits of the dead and Christian figures), which can range from practices that belong to the so-called 'New Age' phenomenon, to shamanism, and to performances of holistic healing.