Advertisement

Doing Yoga Behind Bars: A Sociological Study of the Growth of Holistic Spirituality in Penitentiary Institutions

  • Mar GrieraEmail author
  • Anna Clot-Garrell
Chapter

Abstract

Drawing on a qualitative research conducted in Catalan prisons, this chapter explores what role holistic spiritualities such as yoga, Reiki and meditation activities play in contemporary Spanish prisons. These practices located at the limit of the secular are increasingly present in prisons. In this regard, the chapter particularly examines the success of such holistic activities—understanding “success” to mean the non-problematisation, acceptance and rapid diffusion of such ideas and practices—in the penitentiary context. We argue that holistic activities and therapies become symbolic resources through which inmates can make sense of their uncertain situation in prison and (re)construct their self-image while also working as a “peace-making mechanism” that fits in with the institutional order. Prison staff—specifically social workers—plays a crucial role as carriers, in the Weberian sense of the term, of the ideas and values that underlie holistic activities.

Keywords

Holistic spirituality New religious diversity Catalan prisons Ethnography Self-image Prison staff Weber 

References

  1. Alós Moner, R., Martín Artiles, A., Miguélez Lobo, F., & Gibert Badia, F. (2009). Sirve el trabajo penitenciario para la reinserción? Un estudio a partir de las opiniones de los presos de las cárceles de Cataluña. Revista Espanola de Investigaciones Sociologicas, 127, 11–23.Google Scholar
  2. Aupers, S., & Houtman, D. (2006). Beyond the spiritual supermarket: The social and public significance of new age spirituality. Journal of contemporary Religion, 21(2), 201–222.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Becci, I. (2012). Imprisioned religion. Transformtions of religion during and after imprisionement in Eastern Germany. Farnham: Ashgate.Google Scholar
  4. Becci, I., & Knobel, B. (2014). La diversité religieuse en prison: entre modeles de regulation et emergence de zones grises (Suisse, Italie et Allemagne). In A. S. Lamine & N. Luca (eds), Quand le religieux fait conflit. Désaccords, négociations ou arrangements (pp. 109–122). Paris: La Découverte.Google Scholar
  5. Beckford, J. A., & Gilliat-Ray, S. (1998). Religion in prison: Equal rites in a multi-faith society. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Beckford, J. A. (2003). Social theory and religion. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bloch, C. (2000). Flow: beyond fluidity and rigidity. Human Studies, 23(1), 43–61.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Bourdieu, P. (1979). La distinction: critique sociale du jugement. Paris: Éditions du Minuit.Google Scholar
  9. Centre d’Iniciatives per a la Reinserció (CIRE) Departament de Justícia, Generalitat de Catalunya. http://justicia.gencat.cat/ca/departament/Estadistiques/cire/. Accessed 15 October 2014.
  10. Cornejo, M. (2012). Religión y espiritualidad: Dos modelos enfrentados? Trayectorias poscatólicas entre budistas Soka Gakkai. Revista International de Sociologia, 70(2), 327–346.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Crewe, B. (2011). Soft power in prison: Implications for staff–prisoner relationships, liberty and legitimacy. European Journal of Criminology, 8(6), 455–468.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Csikszentmihalyi, M. (1975). Beyond boredom and anxiety. San Francisco: Josey–Bass.Google Scholar
  13. Dawson, A. (2007). New era, new religions: Religious transformation in contemporary Brazil. Aldershot: Ashgate.Google Scholar
  14. Fedele, A. (2013). Looking for Mary Magdalene: Alternative pilgrimage and ritual creativity at catholic shrines in France. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  15. Fedele, A., & Knibbe, K. (Eds). (2013). Gender and power in contemporary spirituality: Ethnographic approaches. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  16. Foucault, M. (1977). Discipline and punish: The birth of the prison. London: Random House LLC.Google Scholar
  17. Füredi, F. (2004). Therapy culture: Cultivating vulnerability in an uncertain age. London: Psychology Press.Google Scholar
  18. Furseth, I, & van der Aa Kühle, L. M. (2011). Prison chaplaincy from a scandinavian perspective. Archive des sciences sociales des religions, N.153, 123–141.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Garrett, C. (2001). Transcendental meditation, reiki and yoga: Suffering, ritual and self-transformation. Journal of Contemporary Religion, 16(3), 329–342.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Goffman, E. (1959). The presentation of self in everyday life. New York: Anchor.Google Scholar
  21. Goffman, E. (1961). Asylums: Essays on the social situation of mental patients and other inmates. New York: Doubleday.Google Scholar
  22. Griera, M., & Urgell, F. (2002). Consumiendo religión: un análisis del consumo de productos con connotaciones espirituales entre la población juvenil. Barcelona: Fundació La Caixa. ISBN: 84-7664-795-6.Google Scholar
  23. Griera, M., & Clot, A. (2015). Banal is not trivial. Visibility, recognition and inequalities between religious groups in prison. Journal of Contemporayry Religion, 30(1), 23–27.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Griera, M., Martínez-Ariño, J., & Clot, A. (2015) Religión e instituciones públicas en España. Hospitales y prisiones en perspectiva comparada. Revista Espanola de Investigaciones Sociologicas. Google Scholar
  25. Heelas, P., Woodhead, L., Seel, B., Szerszynski, B., & Tusting, K. (2005). The spiritual revolution: Why religion is giving way to spirituality. London: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  26. Heelas, P., & Woodhead, L. (2005). The spiritual revolution. Why religion is giving way to spirituality. Oxford, Blackwell.Google Scholar
  27. Hervieu-Léger, D. (2001). Individualism, the validation of faith, and the social nature of religion in modernity. In: K. R. Fenn (Ed), The blackwell companion to sociology of religion (pp. 161–175). Oxford: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  28. Illouz, E. (2008). Saving the modern soul: Therapy, emotions, and the culture of self-help. California: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  29. Malventi, D., & Garreaud, A. (2008). Curar y reinsertar. El fenómeno de la deslocalización terapéutica en el engranaje penitenciario. In: Revista de Espai en Blanc. Available via Espai en Blanc: http://www.espaienblanc.net/Curar-y-reinsertar.html. Accessed 10 Oct 2014.
  30. Martínez-Ariño, J., Garcia-Romeral, G., Ubasart, G., & Griera, M. (2015) Demonopolization and dislocation: (re-) negotiating the place and role of religion in Spanish prisons. Social Compass. Google Scholar
  31. Martos García, D., Devís Devís, J., & Sparkes, A. C. (2009) Deporte entre rejas? Algo más que control social? Revista Internacional de Sociologia, 67(2), 391–412.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. McIlwain, D., & Sutton, J. Yoga from the mat up: How words alight on bodies. Educational Philosophy and Theory, 46(6), 655–673.Google Scholar
  33. Neitz, M. J., & Spickard, J. V. (1990). Steps toward a sociology of religious experience: The theories of Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi and Alfred Schutz. Sociology of Religion, 51(1), 15–33.Google Scholar
  34. Nizet, J., & Rigaux, N. (2005). La sociologie de Erving Goffman. Paris: La Découverte.Google Scholar
  35. Prat, J. (Eds). (2012). Els nous imaginaris culturals: espiritualitats orientals, teràpies i sabers esotèrics. Tarragona: Universitat Rovira i Virgili.Google Scholar
  36. Rodríguez, Céspedes Á. L. (2010). El Gobierno terapéutico: subjetividad, cuerpo y resistencia en la prisión contemporánea. Dissertation, Universitat de Barcelona.Google Scholar
  37. Roof, W. C. (1999). Spiritual marketplace. Baby boomers and the remaking of American religion. Princenton: Princenton University Press.Google Scholar
  38. Schütz, A. (1945). On multiple realities. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, 5(4), 533–576.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Scott, S. (2010). Revisiting the total institution: Performative regulation in the reinventive institution. Sociology, 44(2), 213–231.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Sociology DepartmentUniversitat Autònoma de BarcelonaBarcelonaSpain

Personalised recommendations