Jaime Kucinskas: The Mindful Elite: Mobilizing from the Inside Out

Oxford University Press, New York, 2019
Book Review

How is Buddhism integrated into secular cultures in the United States? Why does meditation—a practice inspired by Buddhism—attract highly educated elites? In her book, Kucinskas answers these questions with a thorough and critical examination of the contemplative movement, an elite social movement centered on silent prayer and personal spiritual development.

The book’s central thesis is that participants in the contemplative movement, particularly those who have a high socioeconomic status in the secular society in the U.S., skillfully navigate the power embedded in different social institutions, strategically adapt meditation to other institutional norms, and mindfully negotiate their relationship with Buddhism to spread Buddhist-inspired practices. To document these strategies and critically examine the movements’ strengths and weaknesses, Kucinskas collected information using multiple qualitative methodologies. Her data comes from 108 interviews with “contemplatives,” participant...


Copyright information

© Religious Research Association, Inc. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Santa Clara UniversitySanta ClaraUSA

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