Journal for the Academic Study of Religion <p>This journal is the leading peer-reviewed journal of the Pacific region dealing with all aspects of the academic study of religion and is affiliated with the Australian Association for the Study of Religion.</p> en-US <p>Equinox Publishing Ltd.</p> (Ibrahim Abraham and Bernard Doherty) (Ailsa Parkin) Fri, 22 Jul 2022 00:00:00 +0000 OJS 60 Introduction to the Special Issue <p>.</p> Anna Halafoff, Enqi Weng, Alexandra Roginski, Cristina Rocha Copyright (c) 2022 Equinox Publishing Ltd. Fri, 22 Jul 2022 00:00:00 +0000 Selling (Con)spirituality and COVID-19 in Australia <p>Conspirituality—the merger of conspiracy theories and spirituality—has attracted significant global media and scholarly attention during the COVID-19 pandemic. This article expands upon the ‘two core’ conspiritual convictions proposed by Ward and Voas that ‘1) a secret group covertly controls, or is trying to control, the political and social order, and 2) humanity is undergoing a “paradigm shift” in consciousness’. We identify an additional ten key convictions central to (con)spirituality, including those that result in vaccine hesitancy and/or refusal. We chose to bracket the ‘con’ to problematize the term, and to encompass a wider spectrum of spiritual beliefs and practices, including those that are non-controversial, those that may be deceptive cons, and/or those that draw on conspiracy theories. The article presents an analysis of these twelve (con)spiritual convictions, focusing on a sample of ‘Aussie Warriors’ selling (con)spirituality, and also on influencers attempting to counter the spread of dis/misinformation within wellness circles. In so doing, the article provides a more nuanced understanding of (con) spirituality and vaccine hesitancy, and a greater knowledge of the benefits and risks of spiritual practices and ideas during and beyond the COVID-19 pandemic.</p> Anna Halafoff, Emily Marriott, Ruth Fitzpatrick, Enqi Weng Copyright (c) 2022 Equinox Publishing Ltd. Fri, 22 Jul 2022 00:00:00 +0000 The Body as Evidence of Truth <p>Practitioners of alternative medicine and spirituality often highlight narratives of healing as evidence for the superiority of their modalities over Western biomedicine. We argue that this form of establishing and defending truth has a long history, and base this analysis on the historical and anthropological study of two periods: the late nineteenth century, when alternative theories about relations of mind, body and spirit flourished against a backdrop of political and religious transformation; and late modernity, when increased self-reflexivity and mistrust of secular institutions such as biomedicine prompted growth in alternative medical systems. Foregrounding the voices of practitioners and ‘clients’, this article outlines how recurring narratives of the healed body position the individual as a person in control of their physical and spiritual journey. In our present time, scrutinizing the healed body as an archive of truth deepens understanding of why denialist beliefs about vaccination and COVID-19 can prove so intractable. </p> Alexandra Roginski, Cristina Rocha Copyright (c) 2022 Equinox Publishing Ltd. Fri, 22 Jul 2022 00:00:00 +0000 Conspirituality in COVID-19 Times <p>This article focuses on the development of COVID-19 anti-vaccination movements in Spain and explores their relationship with the phenomenon of conspirituality. By using a mixed-methods approach combining big data analysis with small ethnographic data analysis, we examine how conspiracy theories and spiritual ideas circulate, merge and crystallize in particular practices and encounters in Spain. The big data analysis of Twitter conversations reveals the centrality and hypervisibility of far-right populist influencers, and the predominance of classic conspiracy views over spiritual ones in anti-vax discourses. However, ethnographic observations and the analysis of digital ethnographic data of other social media platforms (Facebook, YouTube and Telegram) show the emergence and growth of a network of actors merging spiritual messages, alternative visions on health and healing, anti-vax views and conspiracy theories in different ways and degrees. These are the conspiritual assemblages, which are smaller and more local in their scale and impact but still significant in sociological terms.</p> Mar Griera, Jordi Morales i Gras, Anna Clot-Garrell, Rafael Cazarín Copyright (c) 2022 Equinox Publishing Ltd. Fri, 22 Jul 2022 00:00:00 +0000 Religion, Trust, and Vaccine Hesitancy in Australia <p>Religion has been identified as a potential driver of vaccine hesitancy. Nevertheless, the connections between religion and immunisation refusal can be complex, while there is a deficit of research exploring religion and vaccination doubts in Australia. With that in mind, this study considers Australian vaccine hesitancy with respect to religion and trust by analysing the 2018 Australian Survey of Social Attitudes and the Australian dataset of the 2018 Wellcome Global Monitor. Statistical analyses reveal no significant correlations between religion and vaccine hesitancy, while participants with negative vaccine attitudes identify that they do not have religious reasons for being vaccine hesitant. Nonetheless, a higher proportion of respondents with negative vaccine attitudes self-identify as religious or spiritual and maintain pro-religious views. It was also found that negative vaccine attitudes are correlated with unfavourable perceptions of both Jews and Muslims. Notably, religious self-identification divides two main groups of vaccine hesitant participants, described as Religious Conservatives and Nonreligious Progressives. These groups diverge on sexual ethics and social concerns, as well as around whether they trust in science as opposed to religion, while differing in their perceptions of Jews. What unites these vaccine hesitant participants, however, is a mutual lack of trust in government and scientists. </p> Thomas Aechtner, Jeremy Farr Copyright (c) 2022 Equinox Publishing Ltd. Fri, 22 Jul 2022 00:00:00 +0000 ‘A chain of deep-laid and premeditated villainy’ <p>The flurry of recent interest in what scholars have dubbed ‘conspirituality’ has focused attention on the intersection between conspiracy theories and the overlapping subcultures of New Age, alternative, and esoteric spirituality. These important insights have also highlighted the extensive histories of cultures of conspiracy which exist within larger religious traditions and the related question of why adherents of specific varieties of religion appear to be highly susceptible to strains of conspiracist thinking. To further illustrate the ubiquity of conspiracy theory in contemporary spirituality, this article offers a historical overview of the intricate culture of conspiracy which has developed in the Roman Catholic Church since at least the French Revolution by outlining its five major permutations: anti-Masonry, antisemitism, anti-communism, anti-Satanism and anti-modernism. This article demonstrates the centrality of conspiracy theories in how a sizeable portion of Roman Catholics have responded to what they perceive as the threatening aspects of modernity as well as the renewed popularity of conspiracy theories within a Roman Catholic spiritual milieu during Pope Francis’s papacy.</p> Bernard Doherty Copyright (c) 2022 Equinox Publishing Ltd. Fri, 22 Jul 2022 00:00:00 +0000