Empowerment in the new age: A motivational study of auto-biographical life stories

Miguel Farias, Mansur Lalljee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


This article contributes to the ongoing debate about the motivational goals of New Age practices and beliefs by looking at descriptions of auto-biographical life events. Narratives from New Age, Catholic, and non-religious participants (N = 163) were analysed according to agency and communion types of motivations. New Age respondents were found to have a higher frequency for agency and a lower frequency for communion themes than the other groups, with particular stress on forms of self-referential magical empowerment. This study provides further evidence for the existence of a particular motivational-cognitive pattern in the New Age: holistic individualism. The pattern associates individualistic motivations with a highly abstract holistic style of thinking and sets the New Age individual apart from religious and non-religious people.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)241-256
Number of pages16
JournalChallenging ‘Belief’ and the Evangelical Bias: Student Christianity in English Universities
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2006
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Religious studies
  • Philosophy
  • Cultural Studies


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