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Transnational Transcendence Essays on Religion and Globalization

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Modalities of Transnational Transcendence

The rhetorical force of religious moods and motivations in contemporary society and human experience may be as compelling today as at any period in history. In the first half of the twentieth century, the thoughtful appreciation of religion was still perhaps best summarized in Freud's ([1928] 1957) phrase "the future of an illusion," expressing an anticipation that enlightened rationalism and sober secularism would render religion obsolete. By the second half of the century, the scene on the horizon was already much better captured by Peter Berger's (1969) phrase "a rumor of angels," anticipating a resurgence of religious sensibility and a revitalized appeal of the transcendent. Indeed, the present global situation calls into question an understanding that the world is undergoing a progressive and irreversible secularization (Asad 2003) or disenchantment (Gauchet 1997). The sleeping giant of religion, whose perpetual dream is our collective dream as a species, has never died, and it is now in the process of at least rolling over and at most leaping to its feet. Yet in one of the most vital contemporary arenas of scholarly debate in the human sciences—that having to do with world systems, transnationalism, and globalization—the role of religion remains understudied and undertheorized.

The phrase "transnational transcendence" in our title is intended to point to the existence of modalities of religious intersubjectivity that are both experientially compelling and transcend cultural borders and boundaries (while in some instances forging new ones). These two senses of transcendence converge, we would argue, insofar as traversing boundaries is an aspiration to the universal and insofar as the intersubjective reality forged among adherents is an aspiration to the sacred. These modalities of intersubjectivity are explicitly religious, but precisely because they are immersed in the political and economic, social and cultural, institutional and ideological they partake of and contribute to an emergent global social imaginary that may amount to the reenchantment of the world. Here the distinction between transcendence and immanence breaks down, or reveals itself as artificial, in that we are forced to confront the immanence of alterity itself as the phenomenological kernel of religious consciousness and subjectivity (Csordas 2004). Whether understood as an element of human nature or as an element of embodied existence, this alterity is deeply implicated in the global religious resurgence.

The Theoretical Status of Religion

In elaborating the problematic of the volume, I want first to remark on the difference between talking about "religion and globalization" and talking about the "globalization of religion." The former phrase implies the relation of religion and globalization as two separate analytic domains, with the sense of globalization being the dominant one of economic globalization. This is a globalization the institutional locus of which is the big four, the World Trade Organization (WTO), the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development; the ideological engine of which is neoliberal economic theory; and the technological apparatus of which is the Internet. If this is the way the issue is framed, the danger is that religion will be considered insofar as it is a reaction to global economics rather than as one of two domains that constitute equivalent or equipotent loci of social and cultural forces. In its crudest form this would be a return to earlier debates about the priority of the material or the ideal, with the question being prejudiced toward the apparent secondary nature of religious developments cast as epiphenomena or mystifications of a primary economic reality.

Particularly misleading in this respect is the kind of metaphorical reductionism that goes even beyond causal priority to assert that processes of religious change can be adequately described as if they were economic, in terms of a "spiritual marketplace" where people "buy in" to a system of beliefs or "shop for" a religious identity. This kind of approach was developed among sociologists of American religion (Finke and Stark 1988; Roof 1999) to analyze processes of conversion, adherence, or expansion of religions as competitive processes. The marketplace metaphor has been taken up relatively uncritically in the popular media (Lattin 1998a, 1998b; Micklethwait 2007), as well as in the emerging scholarly literature on religion and globalization such as Adogame's (2000) discussion of the expansion of African Christian denominations to Europe. The market metaphor might be especially seductive in the case of postsocialist Europe, where capitalism has flooded into an economic vacuum to create an emerging global market simultaneously with the florescence of religious freedom and a multitude of religious possibilities ranging from orthodox to New Age. However, there is more than a semantic difference in describing the religious situation in this part of world as a "cultic milieu" (Kürti 2001) rather than as a "spiritual marketplace," insofar as these terms carry different connotations about motivation, agency, identity, and experience.

Indeed, one can talk about the economics of religion without treating religion literally or metaphorically as a commodity, and one can recognize that religious activities are subject to economic constraints, including market forces, without suggesting that religion operates according to the laws of the market. Certainly, there is an economics of global media and global travel with which global religious actors must contend, finance required to support transnational congregations as well as local buildings, and a commodity aspect to religious objects that can be purchased such as films, tapes, books, icons, holy pictures, statues, or relics. There are even religious commodities strictly speaking such as wheat, oil, or sugar used as payment for the services of mullahs in Afghanistan (Roy 2004: 94). The economic dimension to the work of shrine-based sellers of divinely inspired fortunes in the market in Hong Kong (Lang and Ragvald 1993) allows us to say that spiritual activities are conducted in the marketplace without requiring us to make the conceptual leap to a spiritual marketplace. From this standpoint, global religious activity is neither determined by economic globalization nor describable on the model of economic decision making. It is more productive to understand globalization from the outset as a multidimensional process, with religion, popular culture, politics, and economics as necessarily coeval and intimately intertwined, as they are in the lives of actors responsible for bringing about globalization in the first place. At the very least, if it is granted that religion is a given in social reality, with the addition of a global or planetary layer of social organization religious activity will take its place within that layer on terms not entirely determined by other dimensions of social reality.

If instead of talking about globalization and religion our inquiry is cast in terms of the globalization of religion, we are at first spared the immediate assumption of a causal vector in favor of what might at least initially be taken for a purely descriptive endeavor. There is caution to be sounded here, too, though, for if this is the way the issue is framed, the assumption can too easily be that the cultural influence of globalization is unidirectional, from globalizing center to passive periphery, with religion a neocolonial form of cultural imperialism. The empirical problematic in this case would be to determine whether this centrifugal impulse is toward the imposition or reimposition of religious master narratives on a global scale, and whether such an impulse is bound to fragment like a shattered mirror as it becomes instantiated in local cultural settings. Again there is a viable alternative, one that recognizes that once global channels are open, the flow of religious phenomena—symbols, ideas, practices, moods, motivations—is at least bidirectional, more likely multidirectional. We can think of this either in a kind of world-as-neural-network image in which religious manifestations can issue from any node and proceed in any direction or in a kind of postmodern free-floating-signifier image in which religious impulses are decentered and float like dandelion seeds in the breeze of the cultural imaginary.

Particularly in a situation in which the globalization of religion has barely begun to be examined in the human sciences, the empirical determination of its conditions is a necessary first step. An initial question in this respect is to identify what travels well across geographic and cultural space. This issue has to do with characteristics of religions and raises the question of what should count under the category of religion. Certainly we must hold in mind the critique by Asad (1993) to the effect that the category of religion has its own history and can be given a universalized definition only at some intellectual risk. Such a critique does not require abandonment of the category, only that it be used wisely and reflectively. For my part, I prefer a minimal understanding of religion as phenomenologically predicated on and culturally elaborated from a primordial sense of alterity or Otherness that, insofar as it is an elementary structure of embodied existence, renders "religion" an inevitable, perhaps even necessary dimension of human experience (Csordas 2004). Without commitment to this premise or any single definition of religion or religious experience, the contributors to this volume have no difficulty identifying the phenomena they examine as religious.

This being said, we can propose two aspects of religions that must be attended to in determining whether or not they travel well, what I will call portable practice and transposable message. By portable practice, I mean rites that can be easily learned, require relatively little esoteric knowledge or paraphernalia, are not held as proprietary or necessarily linked to a specific cultural context, and can be performed without commitment to an elaborate ideological or institutional apparatus. The many forms of yoga are perhaps the archetypal instances of portable practice, explicit bodily practices accompanied by more or less spiritual elaboration and which may or may not form the basis for communal commitments or transformation of everyday life (Strauss 2005; van der Veer this volume; Frøystad this volume). Chinese feng shui is another recently globalizing portable practice that, although requiring expertise in its performance, can be applied in any cultural setting in which the felicitous orientation of energy in space can be construed as appealing (Bruun 2003). Among Native American peoples, consider the contrast between the Lakota and the Navajo. The Lakota sacred pipe ceremony is relatively more portable than any Navajo ceremony both because of its simplicity and because some individuals are willing to share it with other tribes and non-Indians, sometimes even traveling with it on the New Age circuit. Most Navajo ceremonies not only tend to require considerably more symbolic elaboration and complex paraphernalia, but also tend to be regarded as relatively more distinctive to Navajo life within the territory defined by four sacred mountains, sacred in the sense that they contain elements that must be kept secret and protected. It is thus likely that in contemporary society Lakota religion has greater potential to travel well than does Navajo religion.

By transposable message, I mean that the basis of appeal contained in religious tenets, premises, or promises can find footing across diverse linguistic and cultural settings. I prefer the notion of transposability to those of transmissibility, transferability, or even translatability in part because its definition encompasses several of these ideas and also in part because it includes the connotations of being susceptible to being transformed or reordered without being denatured, as well as the valuable musical metaphor of being performable in a different key. Whether a religious message is transposable and in what degree depends on either its plasticity (transformability) or its generalizability (universality). In their emphasis on acquisition of material goods through spiritual means, Melanesian cargo cults and the contemporary Christian "prosperity gospel" would appear to have much in common. Yet cargo cults had a clear limit of both geographic expansion and temporal viability, whereas the prosperity gospel has found a foothold in many corners of the contemporary world. Robbins (2004b) has described a situation among the Urapmin of New Guinea in which the Christian notion of sin and moral culpability was transposed in such a way as to transform the entire culture even in the absence of overt missionary activity from outside. In the present volume, Robbins takes up the argument that, in contrast to many indigenous religions, world religions tend to posit a radical discontinuity between the transcendent and mundane spheres and that this is likely a feature that enhances their transposability into a variety of cultural settings.

Beyond the characteristics of religions that determine whether they might travel well lies the question of the means by which they traverse geographic and cultural space. Perhaps foremost among these is missionization. The missionary enterprise can be said to have different qualities corresponding to the epochs of the initial spread of world religions, the colonial period, and the current postcolonial world (Keane 2007; Velho this volume; Boddy this volume). For example, as Keane notes, in postcolonial Christianity missionary activity often originates in non-Western sources or occurs in revival movements among Christians (2007: 45). A second means through which the globalization of religion takes place is migration. Transnational population movements such as the forced transatlantic dislocation of sub-Saharan Africans in the colonial slave trade have powerful contemporary consequences (Cohen this volume; Matory 2005, this volume), as do contemporary migrations of Muslim populations to Europe (özyürek this volume; Pandolfo this volume). To be distinguished from both overt missionization and the migration of populations is the mobility of individuals in the contemporary globalizing world. Travel between Brazil and the Netherlands resulted in expansion of the Santo Daime church to Europe (Groisman this volume), the mobility of Korean shamans creates a global reach for their activities (Kendall this volume), and the ability of American yoga practitioners to relocate in India results in a return globalization of Hindu practices from their instantiation abroad (Frøystad this volume). Pilgrimage and religious tourism are powerful engines of religious globalization over traditionally well-established pathways enhanced by global transportation networks and technology (Badone and Roseman 2004). Finally, mediatization is a critical means through which religions are globalized. Beyond television, radio, and print media, cassette tapes have been a powerful form for the spread of religious ideas in New Age, Christian, and Islamic circles. Such cassettes are the subject of a recent monograph by Hirschkind (2006) that deals with what we have called reglobalization of world religions through the formation of contemporary Islamic "counterpublics." Potentially even more far-reaching, the Internet is increasingly influential in globalizing religion. It has become the site of new social forms such as online Christian churches and communities and a network of followers of Yoruba deities, as well as virtual pilgrimages such as a version of the hajj and a trip to holy places in India (Hadden and Cowan 2000; Campbell 2001, 2005; Dawson and Cowan 2004; Kalinock 2006).

Modalities of Religious Intersubjectivity

Given the outline above of characteristics of religions that may or may not travel well and the means by which they travel, I would like to sketch four intersubjective modalities in which the globalization of religion is taking place, each of which suggests a somewhat different problematic for research. The first is that in which the local religious imagination takes up the encroachments of global economy and technology. Perhaps the classic image in this modality is the scenario in the film The Gods Must Be Crazy in which a Coca-Cola bottle littered from an airplane becomes an object of religious speculation for the Kalahari Bushmen who pick it up. I'd like to suggest that an even more compelling image of this kind of reflexive response is Skylab, the U.S. satellite that was in the process of falling back to earth in 1979 and 1980. As its orbit decomposed there was no clear way to predict exactly where on the globe it would come down. The reentry of Skylab became a truly global media event, signifying the global scope and the global threat of U.S. technological domination. What came through only faintly and sporadically in media reports was that Skylab was also a global religious event. Thus in one part of the world Skylab became understood as an avenging angel of doom; in another, as an evil spirit by which individuals could be possessed, and which could be used as a vile epithet in condemning enemies; in yet another, as a bogeyman for children, in the genre of "Skylab will fall on you if you don't behave." For a moment, Skylab thus embodied that awesome, powerful, and dangerous Other that Rudolf Otto (1923) identified as central to the idea of the holy—the alterity of globalization.

This kind of engagement of the religious imagination becomes ever more complex as global culture develops. To remain with the theme of objects from the sky, let me use as an example a Navajo scenario of local religious reasoning in dialogue with cosmopolitan current events. To understand the scenario we must first grasp two ethnographic facts. The first is that among the Navajo, acquisition of sacred knowledge requires an exchange, a kind of honorific payment in which the apprentice acknowledges the value of the knowledge bestowed. If the knowledge is of an evil nature, say, knowledge that allows one to perform witchcraft, one must pay with the life of a loved one. A sacrifice must be made in which a relative will fall ill and die in consequence of the exchange of knowledge. The second ethnographic fact is that the Navajo are highly skeptical of space travel, on the grounds both that humans were created to dwell on the earth's surface, and hence it is unnatural for us to venture beyond, and that the blackness of space is a realm of evil, in fact the realm to which evil is often dispatched by ceremonial means. Given this background, recall that during summer 1999 an event occurred that had an impact on the American national psyche in a way from which Navajos were hardly immune: the death in a plane crash of John Kennedy Jr. For Navajos, the question of why such an event occurred is not an idle rhetorical one, and among some of my acquaintances the answer was readily at hand, as I discovered one evening while watching the news on television with some acquaintances at home on their reservation. The report was of a historic launching of a NASA space shuttle captained for the first time by a woman. As we discussed this event it became clear that it was no coincidence that the shuttle mission was taking place within a week of the Kennedy death. The equation was elegant: if one must pay for evil knowledge with the death of a loved one, then a nation must pay for unnatural knowledge from an evil realm with the death of someone loved by that nation. Kennedy was sacrificed by the nation for knowledge from space—such is the Navajo philosophy of balance and harmony in nature.

A second modality of religious intersubjectivity in the context of globalization and global culture is one that we could call pan-indigenous. It results in some surprising juxtapositions—but surprising perhaps only because they take place at the initiative of those erstwhile people without history (Wolf 1982) whose agency and ability to give voice the dominant society is still reluctant to acknowledge. Thus we are presented with the existence of a Hopi reggae society in which the residents of the ancient mesas embrace a kindred Rastafarian spirituality. In one concert under their auspices held in the late 1980s in Hopiland, I was able to witness at the same moment the lithe swaying of Jamaican musicians onstage, the deep concentration of a Hopi audience standing impassively with arms folded, and the blissful rapture of white hippies whirling with abandon on the open gym floor of the Hopi Civic Center. From another direction, the Dalai Lama had visited Hopiland with the implicit message that the shared origin in a high mountain homeland had predisposed Tibetans and Hopis to a kindred spirituality. Meanwhile, a segment of the neighboring Navajos has since the 1980s supplemented their highly liturgical indigenous religion by regularly inviting Lakota medicine men to lead and train them in the Dionysian practice of the Plains Sun Dance. A final example is the appearance of an Aztec dancer in the style popular in the North American Chicano cultural movement at the annual festival of the patron saint in the small Chiapas village of San Juan de Chamula, his feverish half-naked body dancing wildly in front of the church among the modestly clothed and distinctly local-minded peasants.

Of course, the transcendence of local boundaries by indigenous religious traditions is not limited to contacts among third and fourth world peoples. The current context of globalization includes the increasing likelihood of religious influence extending in a "reverse" direction, from the margins to the metropole. The global spread of Yoruba religion is the prime example of this third modality of religious intersubjectivity (Matory 1999; Cohen 2002; Mahler 2005). A highly elaborated, if decentralized, system of practices based on a pantheon of morally ambiguous deities called orixas, its original expansion was a result of slavery and part of an earlier period of colonial globalization. Today it is neither confined by locality nor strictly speaking restricted to a "Black Atlantic" cultural zone but has made inroads throughout the western hemisphere as far as the suburban living rooms of North America. From the heart of the Amazon and crossing the Atlantic from the opposite direction is another religion embodied in new churches such as the União do Vegetal and the Santo Daime. This religion has incorporated the hallucinogenic ayahuasca as a sacrament in its rites and has recently moved from its origin in Brazil into the cosmopolitan centers of Europe (Groisman 2000, this volume). No more explicit examples can be given of the tenet that religious globalization is not a one-way street from center to periphery.

Fourth, we come to the so-called world religions and their trajectories within the cultural space of globalization. The question is of the "newness" of globalization: certainly there's nothing special about talking of the globalization of Catholicism, Buddhism, or Islam when these are religions that have been globalized for many centuries. Yet surely there is a profound difference between these premodern globalizations of religion and the postmodern globalization we are studying today. Consider the situation: In December 1997 the diplomatic supplement of the newspaper Le Monde published an article on the increasing popularity of Buddhism in France, citing a total of two and a half million adherents of Zen and Tibetan variants of the religion (Renon 1997; cf. Etienne and Liogier 1997). More than two-thirds of these adherents were Southeast Asian refugees from Vietnam and Cambodia, and these were augmented by an increasingly large number of indigenous French from all social classes and walks of life. Nearly 90 percent of the latter come from a Christian background and appear to be in search of a more vibrant and living spirituality than they feel is offered by established churches, one that they claim allows them to enter into an authentic self-awareness or self-realization. On the other side of the spiritual coin, the June 15, 1998, edition of the New York Times published an article on the resident exorcist at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, noting the increasing demand for his services (Simons 1998). Moreover, it notes that there is a formally appointed exorcist in each French diocese and that there are five times more exorcists today than twenty years ago. Those who have recourse to exorcism include immigrants from Africa and the Caribbean, as well as indigenous French. The author states that priests attribute the increased demand to "social and cultural dislocation, the erosion of traditional religion, and the rise of sects and cults dealing in spiritism" but also recognizes the influence of the charismatic movement, which since the end of the 1960s has popularized prayer for deliverance from evil spirits outside formally controlled ecclesiastical channels.

Perhaps what we are becoming able to see is not so much a resurgence of religion, a reenchantment, or a resacralization. Perhaps we are instead simply beginning to recognize the same age-old waters of religion as they fill the newly constructed channels that flow between the local and global. Recall Appadurai's invocation of "transnational irony" in his anecdote of the long journey with his family back to India, only to learn on arriving at the Meenaski Temple in Madurai that the priest with whom his wife had worked in previous years was currently in Houston (1996: 56–57). Barely twelve years old, this anecdote already seems quaint. For my part, having sketched the outlines of four such intersubjective channels for religion in the global context—that of the Skylab engagement of local religious imagination with the encroachment of global culture, that of pan-indigenous interaction and crosstalk among indigenous religions and either ecumenical or conflictual encounter among world religions, that of reverse religious influence from margin to metropole, and that of the reglobalization of world religions—there is one more aspect of the situation that we might entertain. In this sense our key phrase would have to be neither "globalization and religion" nor "globalization of religion" but "globalization as religion."

There are several senses in which we could elaborate this idea, which in some respects is an inversion of the economic metaphor of the global spiritual marketplace discussed earlier. Thus we can play with the notion that economic globalization is a religion or religious movement, conceptualizing the ensemble of institutions like the WTO and the IMF as a global church or ecclesium, neoliberal economics as a kind of canon law, world beat as a liturgical music of global culture, and cyberspace as a privileged site of ritually altered global consciousness. Hopkins (2001) has taken this idea furthest, arguing not metaphorically but literally that globalization is a religion the god of which is the concentration of finance capitalist wealth in the form of a Trinity composed by the WTO, the IMF, and multinational corporations, with its own theological justifications of neoliberalism, privatization, and deregulation, its own theological anthropology, and its distinct forms of economic, political, and cultural revelation. Strenski (2004) argues that economic globalization is a religious phenomenon insofar as it was from its origin embedded in and legitimized by sixteenth- and seventeenth-century writings on natural law and the law of nations by Catholic theologians such as Francisco de Vitoria and Protestant theologians such as Hugo Grotius, and particularly that their formulation of the right to free passage among nations for purposes of trade was a theological justification for the imposition of colonial economic regimes.

Beyond these interpretations, there is a more existential sense in which we can ask if globalization is a religious phenomenon, or at the very least if globalization necessarily has a religious dimension. Does it possess a mythic structure, an eschatological promise, a soteriological message, a magical spontaneity, a moral imperative, a dogmatic inevitability, a demonic urge, an inquisitional universality, a structure of alterity or Otherness that is at some level inescapably religious? Perhaps there are spiritual consequences to whether we find ourselves living in a global village of universal intimacy or in a boundless realm of anonymous and impersonal processes. Perhaps Skylab was not just a technological phenomenon but a religious one, and the religious glosses on its trajectory were not epiphenomenal sidelights but captured something deeper about its human meaning. There was indeed some awe-inspiring alterity about the fact that this technological artifact—the epitome, as it were, of human capability to achieve the orbital plane of existence—suddenly transcended the human capacity for control, losing its status as a product of human culture to become an object of unpredictable, wholly Other, nature.

Formulated in this way, the problematic lends a new sense, even a new urgency, to the question of whether global culture is to be considered as universal culture—might this mean universal in the sense of being dominated by a single master narrative, or universal in the sense that any element can be transposed onto or transported into any other cultural setting? Are we witnessing in these planetary religious phenomena the emergence of a "sanctified" global culture in the process of generating its own mythos, or perhaps a reenchanted world characterized by spiritual Balkanization and the eclipse of Enlightenment? Or, as I suggested before, are we merely beginning to recognize the same age-old waters of religion as they seek their own level in the channels that flow between the local and the global (maybe old wine in new skins is the appropriate metaphor). Perhaps in its religious dimension the edifice of globalization is a new Babel; if so, let us hope that the analyses we produce will indeed be global, and not garbled.

Taking the Next Step

The time has most certainly arrived for serious theorization of religion in relation to globalization. Retracing our trajectory over more than thirty years since the advent of world systems theory, the sonority of religion that for much of this period remained a languid whisper has in the past decade become an insistent crescendo. The early literature on world systems theory, and later literature on globalization, typically touches only incidentally on religion and the sacred (Wallerstein 1974, 1983, 1990; Godelier 1977; Meyer and Hannan 1979; Bergeson 1980, 1990; Chirot and Hall 1982; Hannerz 1989, 1992; Featherstone 1990, 1991; Luhmann 1990; King 1991). Sustained attempts to identify the religious dimension of the global social system were relatively rare through the early 1990s (Wuthnow 1980; Douglas 1982; Robertson and Chirico 1985; Robertson 1989, 1992; Robertson and Garrett 1991; Csordas 1992).

Beginning in the early and mid-1990s, five factors contributed to a virtual explosion of interest in religion and global culture. The first was the sheer momentum of studies on globalization and transnationalism that often begged the question of, and thus eventually made it impossible to avoid, their religious dimension (Bhabha 1994; Friedman 1994, 2003; Griswold 1994; Featherstone, Lash, and Robertson 1995; Marcus 1995; Arizpe 1996; Appadurai 1996, 2004; Hannerz 1996; Melucci 1996; Ong 1997; Jameson 1998; Mintz 1998; Sassen 1999, 2007; Tomlinson 1999; Velho 1999; Tsing 2000, 2005; Inda and Rosaldo 2002; Nancy 2002; Trouillot 2002; Berger and Huntington 2003; Pieterse 2003; Robertson and White 2003; Ong and Collier 2005; Cole and Durham 2006; Ferguson 2006; Scholte and Robertson 2006; Sloterdijk 2006). The second factor was the appearance of the first monograph-length theorization of the relation between religion and globalization (Beyer 1994). Third was the seemingly sudden collective awareness among social scientists of the implications of Pentecostalism as a global social movement (Ranger 1993; Poewe 1994; Cox 1995; Csordas 1995, 1997; Meyer 1999; Coleman 2000; Corten and Marshall-Fratani 2001; Robbins 2001, 2003, 2004a, 2004b). Fourth was the development of research on the religions of peoples in diaspora (Boyarin and Boyarin 1993; Hinnells 1997; ter Haar 1998; Warner and Wittner 1998; Vertovec 2000, 2004; see also the Web site Fifth was a new wave of studies on transnational pilgrimage and religious tourism (Eickelman and Piscatoni 1990; Vukonic 1996; Eade and Sallnow 2000; Badone and Roseman 2004; Coleman and Eade 2004; Hammoudi 2006).

Following on these developments, the relationship between religion and globalization has rapidly become a central concern for the social sciences and religious studies (Schenk 1995; van der Veer 1995; Hexham and Poewe 1997; Rudolph and Piscatoni 1997; Hefner 1998; Jain and Pandey 1998; Oro and Steil 1998; Meyer and Geschiere 1999; Berger et al. 1999; Clarke 2000, 2006; Beckford 2000; Casanova 2001; Hopkins et al. 2001; Mische and Merkling 2001; Ebaugh and Chafetz 2001; Turner 2001; Wolffe 2002; Vasquez and Marquardt 2003; Werbner 2003; Juergensmeyer 2003a, 2003b, 2006a, 2006b; Coleman and Collins 2004; Roy 2004; Strenski 2004; Roudometof, Agadjanian, and Pamkhurst 2005; Thomas 2005; Beyer 2006; Cannell 2006; Hart 2006; Jenkins 2007; Kurtz 2007). A rising tide of literature on Islam and globalization emerged through the 2000s (Ahmed 1994, 2007; Diouf 2000; AlSayyad 2002; Meuleman 2002; Roy 2004; Markham and Ozdemir 2005; Badru 2006; Hammoudi 2006; Sharam 2006; Mazrui, Kafrawi, and Sebuharara 2008), much of it in the aftermath of the attacks of September 11, 2001.

The articles collected here together issue a call for further development of a theory of religion in relation to globalization, and, we hope, constitute a step toward that theory. In chapter 1 Otàvio Velho engages the notion of missionization as developed within Christianity, clearly a globalizing practice in both the colonial and postcolonial eras. Velho examines the theological notion of inculturation and poses the question of the sense in which a paganized, nonartificial Christianity can be considered conservative. In doing so, he introduces the notion of "productive anachronism" that reciprocally allows us to see the emergence of colonial missionization in terms of contemporary globalization and postcolonial globalization in terms of missionization. This methodology of anachronism does not rely on precedent and repetition in linear time but requires a temporality characterized by folds and abductive connections, further problematizing the already vexed relation between tradition and modernity. Within this temporal perspective, the notion of a "paganized Christianity" simultaneously engages the modality of reverse flow of religious influence and the reglobalization of world religions, as I outlined above. Velho touches on the case of Brazil to show that country's status as a postcolonial source of globalizing spiritual practices surrounding the drug ayahuasca, the martial art capoeira, and the democratization of apparitions (particularly of the Virgin Mary) within Catholicism.

The contribution by Joel Robbins addresses both what I have referred to as the globalization of religion and the relation between economic globalization and religion. His discussion moves to the farthest corners of the Christian world, where during the 1970s the Urapmin of New Guinea converted en masse to Pentecostal Christianity on their own, without direct missionary influence. Robbins identifies a correspondence between the Urapmin sense of their own remoteness from the metropolitan centers of contemporary civilization and their commitment to a sense of heaven as located in the remoteness of the sky, such that they become significantly unsettled by the suggestion that paradise might somehow be found on earth. He interprets this correspondence by taking up the theme of alterity as the phenomenological kernel of religious sensibility and addressing the hypothesis of an "axial age" between the eighthh and third centuries b.c.e. as the historical moment of differentiation wherein immanently enchanted worlds first became hierarchically differentiated into mundane and transcendental cosmic domains. Treading carefully around the anthropological uneasiness with formulations of the philosophy of history that can too easily be interpreted in overly simple us/them, traditional/modern, or primitive/civilized terms, Robbins observes that those religions that have become world religions tend to be those that emphasize this axial age split between transcendental and mundane, and further that the civilizations in which they have developed are those that produce an intellectual elite capable of formulating a movable message. He addresses the question raised above of why some religious forms travel better than others, shifting from Velho's emphasis on missionization and inculturation to the religious message and the manner in which it effects change. His focus is on Pentecostal and Charismatic Christianity, religious forms that have demonstrated remarkable success in traveling intact to a diversity of cultures. He suggests that this success has to do in part with the emphasis on this cosmic divide and the ability of the Holy Spirit to bridge or mediate it and points to the homology between this hierarchical model of cosmic space and the hierarchical center-periphery model of social space introduced by economic globalization. Working out his argument in the Urapmin case, he plays out the implications of a polarity between religious salvation and economic development.

My own contribution updates an ongoing attempt to follow the transnational expansion of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal movement as a case in which cultural dynamics are played out between center and periphery, global and local, tradition and modernity, universal culture and postmodern cultural fragmentation. The focus of this discussion is a comparison of the movement's instantiations in Brazil, India, and Nigeria. Here we encounter portable practice such as speaking in tongues and faith healing, along with a transposable message, in conjunction with missionization, mediatization, and the mobility of individual religious adherents, in an instance of a reglobalizing world religion. In posing the question of whether the Charismatic Renewal is an instance of reenchantment and resacralization, the discussion adds further specificity to some of Velho's reflections on productive anachronism. Insofar as the Catholic Church was history's first global religious institution, how can we understand a global religious movement that is taking place within this institution? Is the Church a kind of preexisting global trellis on which the movement grows vinelike, does it reproduce patterns first established by the Church's early spread, or does it reflect entirely contemporary processes? What are the relative advantages of understanding the international expansion of the Charismatic Renewal in terms of missionization or in terms of the spread of a religious movement? Certainly the Charismatic Renewal exhibits elements of Velho's paganized Christianity, as in the events I describe surrounding the Zambian archbishop Emanuel Milingo. In the case of Brazil, which is also discussed by Velho, the Catholic Charismatic Renewal movement both occupies some of the same spiritual frontier as the Protestant Pentecostal churches and revitalizes traditional Catholic devotion to the Virgin Mary. But while the movement partakes of the same Pentecostal message as that described by Robbins, the global coherence of the Catholic version of charismatic religiosity lends itself as easily to implicit notions of a global Kingdom of God on Earth as to maximizing distance between realms of the transcendent and the mundane.

A period extending from the nineteenth to the twenty-first century in the transnational encounter between Christianity and Islam is the theme of Janice Boddy's examination of relations among the Sudan, Egypt, and Britain. Beginning with the Muslim insurrection against Ottoman Egypt led by the Mahdi and the "martyrdom" of British general Charles Gordon at the hands of the Mahdists, Boddy shows how the Sudan was a biblical land in the colonial imagination of the British. Colonial officers were not only devout Christians, but fully a third were the sons of clergymen. This small corps of unmarried males from the privileged classes attempted to manage Islam, supporting orthodoxy and suppressing the "radical" Islam of Sufism and Mahdism and at the same time promoting imperial pomp and ritual and moderating the evangelizing impact of the Christian Missionary Society. Gender plays a role in this story not only in the exclusion of British women from the colonial effort in the Sudan but also in the ultimately unsuccessful effort of missionaries to change the religious face of society by undertaking the project of founding schools to educate Sudanese girls. Colonial policies of encouraging tribalism and excluding Arab influence in the non-Muslim regions in order both to stymie the growth of nationalism and to limit the spread of Islam created conditions for later civil wars between north and south and in the Darfur region. The colonial legacy was ultimately quite the opposite of either the spread of religions transnationally or the convergence of different spiritual traditions but the enhancement of preexisting divisions and the production of new ones.

In distinct contrast to the colonial encounter between Christianity and Islam, Esra özyürek takes up the issues of integration and identity for contemporary Muslim residents of Europe. özyürek examines religion and identity politics among the Alevi, a periodically persecuted Turkish religious group that has in part redefined itself based on the experience of those of its members who have emigrated to Germany since the guest worker program of the 1960s. In a conceptualization reminiscent of dependency theory, she frames the axis of Alevi activities between Germany and Turkey in terms of the relationship between the European core with its Christian majority and the periphery of Europe with its Muslim majority, and raises the issue of what a "Euro-Islam" might look like in the near future. özyürek makes the important argument that European Muslim identities are indigenous to Europe and, in a manner related to the idea of return globalization put forward by Frøystad (chapter 11 this volume), have a reflexive effect on coreligionists in their home country. The development of a distinct Alevi identity was facilitated by conditions in Germany, including new possibilities for developing political organization, greater financial resources, and a climate in which cultural characteristics seen as negative by the Sunni majority in Turkey were regarded as positive and progressive in Germany. An Alevi cultural revival beginning in the 1990s, highly mediatized on the Internet and leading to a degree of institutionalization and standardization of a formerly oral tradition, spanned Europe and Turkey and linked urban and rural locales within Turkey. Tensions between European and Turkish Alevis over issues such as the rhetorical consequences of defining themselves as a "minority" demonstrate the dialogical aspect of an emerging transnational Alevi identity.

Examining a very different kind of relationship between Europe and the Islamic world, Stefania Pandolfo discusses an aspect of the global reenchantment of the world reflected in the lives of Moroccan street youth in Casablanca and Rabat. For Pandolfo, the youths' pragmatic and imaginal struggle to transcend stifling material, emotional, and spiritual conditions by transnational flight from Morocco to Europe is encapsulated in the metaphor of l-harg, "the burning." Through a series of key terms in the discourse of these youth—death, suicide, jihad, despair, being crushed, being touched by the jinn, nerves, awareness—Pandolfo shows that Islamic theology is not only a pursuit of bearded scholars but also has a street life as an idiom of suffering and the means for clinging tenuously to a life surrounded by death.. She engages the work of Arab psychoanalysts, already a transnational pursuit, and the philosophy of al-Ghazali to discuss subjectivity and alterity among these youths in the wake of the bombings of May 16, 2003, in Casablanca. She demonstrates that the transcendence of national boundaries through migration is undergirded by a theological debate over whether migration attempts are a heroic transcendence toward freedom or a dark transcendence of suicide. Migration is thus as much an act fraught with spiritual preconditions and consequences as one determined by the economic exigencies of postcolonial economics or global capitalism.

A strikingly different trajectory into Europe is traced by Alberto Groisman, this time in the modality of "reverse" religious influence, from margin to metropole. From the remote Brazilian Amazon to the cosmopolitan centers of the Netherlands, Groisman documents the transnational expansion of Santo Daime, a religion based on the portable practice of sacramentally ingesting the hallucinogenic herbal beverage ayahuasca. He dates interest in ayahuasca on the part of non-Indian Brazilians and seekers from Europe to the turn of the twentieth century and accelerating with the advent of the New Age movement in the 1960s. Creation of organized groups of adherents in Europe began in the 1980s as Brazilian adepts were invited to bring the sacramental daime and teach its ritual use. Groisman focuses on the development of three Santo Daime churches currently extant in the Netherlands, each with its distinctive ritual style and network of Brazilian contacts. He elaborates what I have called a transposable message in the "salvationist" ethos of the daimistas that not only uses a substance derived from indigenous Amazonian cultures as an element of New Age shamanism oriented toward individual therapeutics and personal spiritual growth but also cultivates a mentality in which Europeans are responsible to make reparations for the ignominies of colonial exploitation of indigenous peoples. Groisman implicitly protests the use of economic globalization as a metaphor for transnational religious expansion in the sense of "religious marketplace," emphasizing the daimistas' spiritual alternative of creating a "planetary citizenship."

Situating his discussion in the context of the transnational Black Atlantic cultural world, Peter Cohen presents another instance of the reverse globalization of religion from an indigenous society far beyond its homeland. Parallel to the manner in which Boddy in chapter 4 examines the historical underpinnings of transnational encounter between Christianity and Islam, Cohen does this by taking a historical approach to the global expansion of Yoruba religion from West Africa. Cohen shows that the modality of globalization was not only the diasporic forced migration perpetrated by the slave trade but also the mobility of individuals in travel back to Africa as repatriates or for both religious and commercial purposes during the period between the end of the British slave trade and the colonial subjugation of Africa. The existence of a single Yoruba ethnic identity was a product of bidirectional mobility, created in large part by Christianized, English-speaking, liberated captives. Likewise, the development of Yoruba religion as the worship of a pantheon of delocalized deities, rather than gods and goddesses of specific locales within the West African homeland, came about as individuals traveled back and forth for purposes of education, religious initiation, or transportation of plants and objects with ritual significance as well as commercial value. These developments were further facilitated by the traditional urbanization of Yoruba society, the high status and access to resources of religious specialists, and its high development of voluntary societies, both religious and nonreligious.

J. Lorand Matory continues the discussion of Yoruba Afro-Atlantic spirit possession religions, beginning where Cohen left off, with an emphasis on the historical depth of transnational religious phenomena. Matory qualifies an assertion that religion is inherently transnational with the caveat that we must have the generalization confirmed by students of the "Bongo-Bongo" (anthropological slang referring to the most remote of tribal peoples)—if the Urapmin discussed by Robbins in chapter 2 qualify, we can answer yes insofar as this remote New Guinea tribe adopted Christianity without any active missionary influence but perhaps no insofar as the indigenous religion of the Urapmin has not proven to travel well outside its home community. Yet, as Matory observes, a concern with a transcendent "Other Place" and an invocation of paths, roads, and journeys are indeed widespread features of religious imagery. Adherents of the variants of Yoruba-Atlantic religion participate in deterritorialized spiritual "nations" (Lucumi, nago, quetu, Congo, etc.), as well as in territorial nation-states. Central to Matory's argument is the problem of rethinking the nature of transnationalism and imagined community from the standpoint of these religions' polytheism and emphasis on spirit possession in contrast to the monotheism and emphasis on transcendence of the Abrahamic and karmic religions the presuppositions of which implicitly set the theoretical agenda. Specifically, and parallel to my argument above that globalization itself exhibits some characteristics of a religious process, Matory suggests that theories of transnationalism and globalization have a religious tenor because they are predicated on some of the same ontological assumptions as the Abrahamic and karmic religions. He consolidates his argument with a comparison among Oyo-Yoruba religion in West Africa, Candomblè in Brazil, and Santerìa in Cuba, drawing out the complex symbolic relations between the sacred Other Place and the Present Place encapsulated in ritual objects, costumes, colors, animals, foods, peoples, and deities of multicultural and transnational origin, all in the contemporary setting of global capitalism in which transnational religious interaction is amplified by mediatization and personal mobility.

Peter van der Veer takes up the issue of globalizing Asian spiritual-somatic practices, specifically, Indian Yoga and Chinese Qigong. With respect to the elements of religious globalization outlined above, this discussion both identifies a distinct type of portable practice and exemplifies the reglobalization of world religions, Indian and Chinese. From a historical perspective, as well as with respect to the contemporary scene, van der Veer uses the bodily disciplines as touchstones for comparing different versions of encounter between spiritual nationalism and imperial modernity. He demonstrates how the practices partake of both religion and politics and are not only spiritual practices but commercial products. In this respect the argument does not focus on what I have called the globalization of religion but offers an intriguing perspective on the relationship between religion and globalization. This relationship can be seen in terms of implicit polarities between spirituality and rationality, devotion and marketing, health and political identity. For van der Veer, it is also evident in an explicit alignment of yoga with the development of global capital and, more generally, in the freeing of spiritual movements to organize civil society by the liberalization of the Indian and Chinese economies through the influence of global capitalism. Insofar as these practices are genuinely widespread and can take on the structure of marketable commodities, they can be seen as elements of an incipient universal culture as discussed above, in contrast to Pentecostalism's requisite of an explicit life commitment, Marian devotion's presupposition of Catholic cultural background, or trans-Mediterranean migration's embeddedness in an Islamic life-world.

In contrast to van der Veer's broad comparative discussion of Asian traditions in the Occident, Kathinka Frøystad offers a closeup of a single yoga tradition, Kriya Yoga, as practiced in the Ananda Sangha community. Her description of how the group's U.S. swami decided to relocate from California to India identifies a species of what I referred to above as the reglobalization of world religions. What is at issue, however, is not a renewed wave of global expansion but what Frøystad terms "return globalization," in which a spiritual tradition that takes root abroad subsequently returns to its land of origin under new conditions and with somewhat new consequences. At the same time, she astutely observes that the notion of return globalization, with its emphasis on geographic displacement and spatial discontinuity, does not fully account for the phenomenon. A corresponding recognition of lineage legitimacy, insofar as the swami carries the authentic spiritual heritage of his tradition, introduces a complementary dimension of genealogical integrity and temporal continuity. Evident also are elements of what makes religion travel well with respect to the portable practices and movable message of Kriya Yoga that can be taken up as individual practice or form the basis for an ongoing community. The discussion deals cogently with mechanisms of transmission, including missionization, mediatization, and the mobility of individuals, approaching from Tsing's suggested vantage points of material and technological conditions and concrete social encounters that highlight communicative conditions of religious globalization. Insight into the relation between the globalization of religion and economic globalization is available in the way a language of "spiritual marketing" appears as explicitly metaphoric alongside the literal sense in which a liberalized global economy facilitates the transfer of money to support a foreign-financed media blitz promoting the swami's activities.

The transnational mobility of individuals is highlighted in Laurel Kendall's discussion of spiritual tourism and pilgrimage led by Korean shamans to sacred mountains throughout their land, centering on Mount Paektu, mythic birthplace of the Korean nation. The discourse of shamans invokes activity and movement across China, Manchuria, Mongolia, Vietnam, the United States, and both North and South Korea. It thus taps into what, in discussing the globalization of religion, I referred to above as a pan-indigenous awareness of kindred shamanic traditions. Within the contemporary economic expansion, shamans' work has also become mediatized by means such as telephone and Internet and takes advantage of increasingly efficient means of transportation, thus providing another instance of the relation between religion and globalization. Critical to Kendall's account of the symbolically charged ritual landscape of Korea is the fact that the far northern Mount Paektu is today accessible to South Koreans only from China, not from North Korea. This leads to complex transnational interactions among Han Chinese, Korean Chinese, and South Korean tourist-pilgrims, some of whom are refugees from the North. In this "global moment" of Korean shamanism, a local, indigenous religion is enacted in a transnational space traversed by novel routes of travel and geopolitical implications. Formerly regarded as practitioners of superstitious rites, shamans are regarded today as bearers of authentic, original Korean culture and heritage. Public, mediatized cultural performances by "superstar" shamans evoke a transcendent unity of the Korean people in the midst of the mundane reality of continued national division, while at the same time shamans continue to address the same problems of their clients' everyday life that has traditionally been their stock-in-trade.

Are we witnessing in these phenomena a resacralization or a reenchantment on a planetary scale? If so, are the consequences for individuals de-alienation or remystification? While de-alienating possibilities may exist in principle, to suggest that contemporary global religious manifestations amount to authentic de-alienation would have the dubious methodological distinction of repeating the claims made by many of those religions themselves. Such religions are distinctive not because of their de-alienating potential but because they are critical components in the ideological-religious dimension of a global social system. Insofar as religion is a cultural component of any social system, it would be a mistake not to recognize that religious developments must accompany the development of a planetarized social system that includes a global economic order, global communications, and global population movements and diasporas. Specifically, it would appear that the increasing articulation of the world social system generates an ideological impulse toward formulations of universal culture. What requires empirical determination is the conditions under which global religious phenomena have an agentive impetus toward the status of universality—toward becoming world religions in a literal sense—in contrast to conditions in which they are examples of religious ideology as flickering reflections, reflexes, or epiphenomena of the global social reality. In either case, such religious phenomena constitute a significant part of the consciousness of the postmodern world system, and this can be judged to be a false consciousness in no more or less a sense than was religion in the classic era of industrializing nation-states.


I presented a very early version of the argument made in this introduction to the World Congress of Sociology in Montreal in 1998 at the invitation of Philip Wexler. I had the good fortune to present later versions as part of the Presidential Roundtable on Religion at the meetings of the Society for the Anthropology of Religion in 2000, at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro in 2002, at the ècole des Hautes ètudes en Sciences Sociales in Paris and the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology at Halle in 2004, and at the annual meeting of the American Anthropological Association in 2006. The introduction and chapters by Boddy, Kendall, Groisman, and Csordas were presented as a session to the annual meetings of the American Anthropological Association in 2006. The introduction and chapters by Velho, Csordas, van der Veer, and Pandolfo appeared as a special issue of the journal Anthropological Theory in 2007; thanks to Jonathan Friedman for the invitation to organize and guest-edit the issue, to Joel Robbins during the review process, and to editorial assistants Jon Bialecki and Naomi Haynes. For critical support and unwavering loyalty throughout this period, I thank Janis Jenkins, my wife and closest colleague.