In Mystical Society Philip Wexler, a well-known critical theorist with a background in social psychology and a special interest in spirituality, examines the revitalization of spirituality manifesting itself in society and in education. Describing what he calls "cultural changes toward the sacred," he documents a cultural shift, brought about by technological and societal changes, toward a new mysticism. Wexler explores the meaning for this new spirituality for our daily lives, for social theory, and for education. From the pervasiveness of a spiritual vernacular to the integration of spiritual practices into our highly individualized and technologized lives, Wexler lays out the evidence for a growing movement, and then draws parallels to periods of mystical revitalization from the past. In the course of this discussion, he draws on the work of Marx, Weber, and Durkheim, as well as from contemporary social theory.
* 1. Mystical Society: Prologue * Religion, Sociology, Education * Interaction: Structure, Discourse, and Being * Mysticism: Analysis and Utopia * 2. Society: Informationalism, Mysticism, Revitalization * Informational Society * Religion and Mysticism * Revitalization * Examples * 3. Self: Reselfing * Immortal Self * Eliade and Hasidism * Reselfing * Classical Sociology: Religion, Power and Self * Postmodern Self in Society: Melucci and Foucault * A Typology of Reselfing * Self and Structure * 4. Criticism: From Culture to Being * Lasch: Social Criticism and the Sacred * Gnosticism and the New Age * Social Ethic of Being * Frankfurt School * Embodied Criticism * Phantasms and Energy * 5. Social Theory: From Society to Cosmos * The Social * Social Energy * Beyond Dualism * Reintegration * Education As Embodied Mediation * From the Social to the Cosmic * 6. Education: From Postmodernism to Ethnography of Being * Educational Research * Context of Educational Research * Mystical Education * School Ethnography of Being * Prophetic Education * 7. Social Interaction: From Alienation to Mysticism * Destruction * Creation * American Religion: Drugs, Nature, Immanence * William James: Over the Threshold to Mystical Revitalization * Hindu Tantrism: New Dynamics of Embodied Mystical Mediation * Hasidism: Individual Redemption and Collective Messianism * Secular Mysticism * 8. Epilogue: Mystical Sociology and Beyond * Mystical Sociology * Self * Social Interaction * Society * Pedagogy of Revitalization * "Forgotten Things,"