Anne  Kalvig Author of Evaluating Organization Development

Anne Kalvig

Professor of Religious Studies
University of Stavanger

My research is within the fields of alternative spirituality, new religious movements and lived religion. My publications include books, chapters and articles on alternative therapy, folk religion and folk medicine, shamanism, spiritualism/spiritism, religion and popular culture, media and gender, spiritual tourism, crop circles and more. I employ field work, participant observation and in-depth interviews as well as other methods, with a cultural analytical perspective.


I am interested in religion as a lived reality, and religion as an unclear category in need of continous scrutiny. Cultural discourses on religion display conflicting interests and power inequality, and as researchers, we must provide information and insight into hegemonic as well as marginal positions within religion as a cultural system. Also, meaning making, transgression, transitions and transformation is part of religion as a most interesting study. Religion as a mix of spirituality and materiality, and what this means, is a thrilling subject, and most important to understand the world around us and its human and other-than-human inhabitants.

Areas of Research / Professional Expertise

    I conduct research on contemporary religion with an emphasis on new religious movements, alternative spirituality, religion and popular culture. Teaching include over the years courses on theory and method within religious studies, and courses on world religions, new religions and new religious movements, Ancient Egyptian religion, Norse religion, religion and gender. I am leader of the Nordic Association for Information and Research on New Religious Movements and Alternative Spirituality, Finyar.

Personal Interests

    My family and spending time together with my husband, five children and two dogs are my main interests. Also, I have for decades been involved in the Norwegian women's movement.




New Age in Norway

Alternative Medicine: Health-oriented Spiritual Practices in Norway

Published: Sep 12, 2016 by New Age in Norway
Authors: Anne Kalvig

Alternative medicine and alternative therapy (CAM) is a vital part of New Age or alternative spirituality, in Norway as well as elsewhere. However, those health-oriented, spiritual practices conventionally labelled alternative medicine might be analyzed from a wide range of different perspectives. I provide an overview of the phenomenon of alternative medicine and therapy in Norway and seek to give a preliminary answer to what it means to consider such practices as religion.

New Age in Norway

Contemporary Spiritualism in Norway: Faith Assemblies and Market Products

Published: Sep 12, 2016 by New Age in Norway
Authors: Anne Kalvig

Communication with spirits of the deceased has been one of the major themes of the New Age movement. In this chapter I consider how spiritualism is lived out in Norway today, and how the variegated forms, actors and organizations influence each other and contribute to a varied, yet identifiable, thematic field of transgressive communication. In concluding remarks, I explore whether and how spiritualism in Norway today might be seen as religion here, there, anywhere and everywhere.

 Levende religion : globalt perspektiv - lokal praksis

Frå New Age til nyåndelegheit - praktisert nyreligiøsitet gjennom seksti år

Published: Sep 01, 2015 by Levende religion : globalt perspektiv - lokal praksis
Authors: Anne Kalvig

This chapter (in Norwegian), entitled "From New Age to neospirituality - practiced new religiosity throughout sixty years" explores how religion as a mix of global trends and local expressions can be traced in a specific region in Norway.

Nordic Neoshamanisms

Shared Facilities: the Fabric of Shamanism, Spiritualism, and Therapy

Published: Jun 01, 2015 by Nordic Neoshamanisms
Authors: Anne Kalvig

I analyze the “shared facilities” represented by people employing and creating spiritual reservoirs marked by neo-shamanism(s), spiritism, mediumship-based activities, and alternative therapies. I ask how the fabric of shamanism, spiritism, and therapy unfolds within the contemporary spirituality scene in Norway (and Nordic countries more generally), with a primary focus on insights into its production and consumption as a mediatized, religious/spiritual practice.

Handbook of Nordic New Religions

The Spiritist Revival: The Raising Voice of Popular Religion

Published: Jan 01, 2015 by Handbook of Nordic New Religions
Authors: Anne Kalvig

In this chapter, I outline some characteristics of Norwegian contemporary spiritualism and adjacent spiritual practices. How can spiritualism and related practices be said to be central parts of Norwegian, contemporary religious-spiritual life? Does this challenge our academic understandings of religion and spirituality, and if so, why? Do we find connections and continuations between folk religious practices and today’s spiritualism, and is gender an analytical category worth exploring?

Controversial New Religions

Popularity of - and Controversy in - Contemporary Shamanism

Published: Aug 28, 2014 by Controversial New Religions
Authors: Anne Kalvig

I this chapter, I focus on the case of female shamans in particular. They often appear as mediums and clairvoyants in addition to shamans, and demonstrate various ways of relating to or employing the “ethnicity” of shamanism as a way of widening their scope of action. Their staging of themselves as shamans or “users of shamanistic techniques” gives clues to understand the interplays of popular religion and spirituality, tradition, media, and gender.

Mediating and Remediating Death

Death in times of secularization and sacralization: The mediating and re-mediati

Published: Feb 01, 2014 by Mediating and Remediating Death
Authors: Anne Kalvig

In this chapter, I provide an analysis of the ways in which the death and bereavement of the 22nd of July 2011 were mediated and remediated in the Norwegian public, and how the narratives of various media communicated religion and religious issues. I investigate how media served as platform for negotiations of how to relate to the tragedy. Processes of secularization and sacralization and of ontological narratives were competing for hegemony in a late modern, pluralist, cultural discourse.

Post-secular Religious Practices

Facing Suffering and Death: Alternative Therapy as Post-secular Religious Practi

Published: Nov 01, 2012 by Post-secular Religious Practices
Authors: Anne Kalvig

Religious practice being “post secular” raises questions concerning secularization, sacralization and the meanings of the prefix post-. In this chapter, I investigate the practice of alternative therapy and conceptualizations and world views pertaining to it. I focus on suffering and death in relation to alternative spirituality and therapy as highly debated, and illuminating, fields of “post secular religious practice”.