ISSN online: 2221-1616

Bulletin of the Institute of Sociology (Vestnik instituta sotziologii)

Research Article

Elena D. Rutkevich, Candidate of Philosophy, Associate professor, leading researcher, , Candidate of Philosophical Sciences, Leading Research Fellow, Institute of Sociology of FCTAS RAS Moscow, Russia
“Sociology of Spirituality”: Problems of Creation.
Vestnik instituta sotziologii. 2014. Vol. 5. No. 2. P. 36-65

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Topic: Questions of theory

For citation:
Rutkevich E. D. “Sociology of Spirituality”: Problems of Creation. Vestnik instituta sotziologii. 2014. Vol. 5. No. 2. P. 36-65


Rapid spread of the term “spirituality” in the Western world is a symptom of changing religiosity in the context of sociocultural changes. In describing religious consciousness and behavior, “religion” and “spirituality” are often contrasted as objective “traditional spirituality” and subjective “post-modern spirituality”. And if the first, as sociologists believe, loses its relevance and “probabilistic structure”, the second, acquiring the character of a “spiritual revolution” or “spiritual turn”, becomes a stable trend characteristic for many countries of the European continent and beyond. In the process of studying the various forms of spirituality, a new discipline gradually develops – the “sociology of spirituality” as an interdisciplinary approach within the sociology of religion. The focus of this article is some of the problems of this process, in particular, the appearance causes of the term “spirituality” on the sociological field, the points of contact and divergence of the terms “spirituality” and “religiosity”, the possibilities for establishment of a new discipline. By the beginning of the 21st century the concept of “spirituality” firmly established in various social sciences, contrary to the forecasts and hopes of some scientists. The emergence and rooting of “spirituality”, “postmodern spirituality” in modern life means a turn from “institution to individual”, from tradition, churchism – to human subjectivity. This is the transition from transcendence to immanence, from the authority of higher powers, God, the church, mediators – to human. The “implantation” of the concept of spirituality in Western sociology is not easy and is associated with a number of problems of a different nature: ideological, terminological, and practical. To achieve great results in spirituality research within the framework of the “sociology of spirituality” or the “sociology of religion”, it is necessary to change the attitude of the scientific researcher towards spirituality, which has long been negative in academic circles, reconsider secularization and faith in the context of pluralism and globalization. It would also be very fruitful not to oppose, but to combine the advantages of both old and new paradigms, using all the variety of methods and methodological innovations.


religiosity, spirituality, religious changes, “spiritual revolution”, “fuzzy fidelity”, “post-Christian spirituality”, spiritual turn, sociology of spirituality