I argue that the role of the ‘seeker’ and practices of ‘seeking’, especially (but not only) in the field of New Spiritualities, constitute a late modern tradition of practice. Rather than a personal and idiosyncratic form of behaviour with minimal salience, seeking is better understood as a collective mode of thought and practice by means of which receptive subjects adapt to the radical pluralisation of late modern religious authorities. To support my case I discuss three vernacular biographies from different regions of the UK as post-1945 case studies. Drawing on a theoretical framework based in the work of Vladimir Propp and Walter Burkert, I argue that, despite substantive differences, each biography shares a common structure of a search for symbolic goods in the face of multiple competing authorities. I conclude that seeking is a late modern vernacular tradition with historical and anthropological roots.
|Title of host publication||Vernacular Knowledge|
|Subtitle of host publication||Contesting Authority, Expressing Beliefs|
|Editors||Ülo Valk, Marion Bowman|
|Place of Publication||Sheffield|
|ISBN (Print)||9781781792360, 9781781792377|
|Publication status||Accepted/In press - 2018|