Image courtesy of Brian O'Neill: https://www.flickr.com/photos/brian_oneill/15146826735/in/set-72157646842235687/
Véronique Altglas is a Lecturer in the School of Sociology, Social Policy and Social Work at Queen's University Belfast.
Her main research interests lie in the globalisation of religion, new religious movements, religious exoticism, responses to cultural and religious diversity in Britain and France, and anti-Semitism. She completed her PhD at the Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes (Sorbonne) in 2004, on the ways in which practices such as yoga and meditation have spread beyond Indian frontiers and been appropriated by westerners. She showed that the transnational diffusion of neo-Hindu movements was closely associated with a process of westernisation, because of their adaptive strategies and the way in which Western disciples appropriated neo-Hindu practices and values. In addition, this interpretation of the religious interactions between Western Europe and the ‘East’ revealed attitudes towards religion in contemporary western societies and contributed to a sociological understanding of processes of globalisation.
Her interest in cultural and religious diversity is also reflected in her interest in another research field: the sociological analysis of anti-Semitism. Altglas has begun to reflect on anti-Semitism through an interpretation of its manifestation of contemporary France but also through an analysis of the construction of Jewish identity of Kabbalah Centre students.
In this interview with Chris, Altglas discusses the complex genealogy of 'bricolage', tracing a movement from forms of cultural warfare to 'playful, postmodern bricoleurs' - what many might be tempted to dub 'pick and mix spirituality'. However, as Altglas goes on to demonstrate,...