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Occultural intrusions: signposting and mediating ineffable otherness

McLaughlin, C. (2017) Occultural intrusions: signposting and mediating ineffable otherness. In: Pasi, M. and Otto, B.-C. (eds.) Pasi, Marco and Otto, Bernd-Christian Western Esotericism and Deviance. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill. (Accepted)

Item Type: Book Section
Abstract: This paper examines how deviance from socio-cultural norms, and the othering and rejection of esoteric ideas, authors and currents, by dominant or mainstream Western cultural and religious discourses are, in fact, necessary conditions that facilitate a broader occultural—and thereby cultural—process. Current discourse in the Study of Western Esotericism, with regards to Christopher Partridge’s sociological category of ‘occulture’, raises important questions about whether occulture is a recent phenomenon, or whether the subsequent refinement of occulture as ‘ordinary’ suggests that it is concurrent with all culture. Wherever we find culture, might we find occulture and does this point towards an underlying, universal, process in the interplay between the two? The author offers an exploratory modelling of just such a process and the manner in which it operates: through the hermeneutical reading of deviations from the orthodox cultural field. In this model, occulture serves to both signpost and mediate ineffable and incommunicable Otherness within culture-at-large, whilst, simultaneously, providing a mechanism for re-enchantment and the emergence of new cultural narratives. Central to this thesis is the understanding that the ordinary, open and democratised nature of occulture does not revoke its relationship with secrecy, most especially, the type of secrecy that lies at the heart of many esoteric traditions: the orders of mystery (or Otherness) that can never be communicated. Such Otherness cannot be articulated, or expressed, so necessarily it must transcend culture, because it cannot be transmitted through forms of communication from one individual to the next. However, in the proposed model, it can still impact directly on culture, by way of occultural intrusions into the cultural fabric, altering its topography and providing deviations from cultural norms.
Subjects: T Technology > T Technology (General) > T58.5 Information technology
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology > BF1404 Occult sciences
Creators: McLaughlin, Cavan
Editors: Pasi, Marco and Otto, Bernd-Christian
Publisher: Brill
Faculties, Divisions and Institutes: Faculties > Faculty of Arts, Science & Technology > Journalism, Media & Performance
Date: 13 October 2017
Date Type: Acceptance
Title of Book: Western Esotericism and Deviance
Series Name: Aries book series
Place of Publication: Leiden, The Netherlands
Language: English
Status: Accepted
Refereed: Yes

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