Change without confrontation: The making of mainstream meditation

by Kucinskas, Jaime, Ph.D., INDIANA UNIVERSITY, 2014, 315 pages; 3629911


This dissertation contributes to scholarship on consensus-based movement mobilization, institutional change, and field theory by exploring how movements with stigmatized cultural elements develop consensus-based tactics to establish legitimacy and build new fields. Using mixed qualitative methods and an abductive, multi-level approach, I examine how Buddhist-inspired meditators legitimized and diffused meditation to create a new contemplative meditation field anchored in multiple secular fields (science, education, business, healthcare, and the military), largely without confrontation. In Chapter 1, I investigate how this movement assesses the broader multi-institutional environment it is embedded in, as well as movement leaders' strategies to break into new fields. I examine in Chapter 2 how movement leaders adapt and transform Buddhist culture to move it into new secular institutions. I find Buddhist meditation undergoes a secularization process, at the same time as elements of the sacred are infused into secular institutions. Investigating how meditation moves reveals the importance of strategic action in contemporary lived religion, as well as shows how many kinds of institution-specific forms of contemplative culture are produced through interactions with targeted audiences. These diverse forms of contemplative culture enable the movement to recruit and include many different institutional audiences. Lastly, in Chapter 3, I show how the movement "intervention" programs, which resocialize organizational inhabitants to align their lives with contemplative perspectives, help the movement transform their targeted institutions from the inside out.

AdviserRobert V. Robinson
Source TypeDissertation
SubjectsReligion; Religious history; Sociology
Publication Number3629911

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