Volume 10, Issue 2, 2012

Disenchantment, Enchantment, and Re-Enchantment: Max Weber at the Millennium
Richard Jenkins, Department of Sociological Studies, University of Sheffield, United Kingdom

Without wishing to deny the historical reality of processes of disenchantment, this paper challenges the classic Weberian account of disenchantment as a uni-directional and universalizing tendency of modernity. This argument has a number of stages. (1) Reason and rationalization are distinguished from each other. (2) The historical relationships between modernity, Reason and rationalization are problematized. (3) The scale and scope of rationalization are questioned (it is partial and unsuccessful, almost by definition). (4) Secularization and the "decline of magic" are distinguished from each other. (5) Enchantment and re-enchantment are placed at the heart of modernity. Enchantment and re-enchantment are both distinctively modern and a response to modernity. While disenchantment has been a stimulus to (re)enchantment, enchantment may generate its own disenchantments. The two are opposite sides of one coin. This argument is exemplified by a brief look at the contradictions, alarms and damp squibs of the recent Millennium.

Eceryday Miracles: Results of a Representative Survey in Germany
Ina Schmied Knittel, Department of Cultural Studies and Social Research, Institute of Frontier Areas of Psychology and Mental Health, Freiburg, Germany and Michael Schetsche, Department of Cultural Studies and Social Research, Institute of Frontier Areas of Psychology and Mental Health, Freiburg, Germany

This essay introduces the central results of a representative survey which was carried out at the Institut für Grenzgebiete der Psychologie und Psychohygiene in Freiburg. Over 1500 persons of the Federal Republic of Germany were questioned about their attitude towards paranormal phenomena and about personal experiences in this field. The results are surprising: Germans are quite open-minded about paranormal phenomena, and more than half of the people even give an account of personal exceptional experiences. Interestingly, it is primarily young people who believe in the existence of psi phenomena and who are increasingly having personal experiences in this field. Presented are qualitative results, as well as descriptive statistics. In a second interview more than 200 persons were questioned once again, this time in detail, about their personal experiences. It was found that dealing with the paranormal is not seen as problematic at all.

Return Trip: The Re-Enchantment of Psychedelics
Eric Davis, Department of Religiuous Studies, Rice University Houston, USA

The return of clinical psychedelic research offers the opportunity the re-assess the narratives that surround and shape psychoactive substances. Today those narratives increasingly try to reduce drug-induced states of consciousness to brain activity, with the paradox that any attempt at a totalizing neurological account of consciousness must account for the full range of psychedelic phenomena. A situated understanding of this process suggests that reductive explanations are unavoidably woven into holistic "meshworks" of social, psychological, spiritual, and possibly cosmic import.

Uncovering Hidden Representations of Performer's Physical Action in Applied Theater
Ilana Gorban, Goldsmith College, London United Kingdom

This paper proposes a dialogue between applied theater, motor cognition and some current ideas about mental presence in the philosophy of psychology. Firstly, it is suggested that the interplay between neuroscience and theater-making can be expanded in applied theater. Secondly, my understanding of the performer's work on physical action responds to recent research about the psychology of mental presence and the duration of nowness. Thirdly, some central ideas about action representation in the area of motor cognition are transposed to performance-making to discuss a working method with participants of applied theater. Overall, this contribution presents the practice of applied theater as a locus in which participants can become aware of action as a process on the cognitive level.

Last revision: 30 Jan 2013