Postmodernism and the Sacred: Reclaiming Connection in Our Greater-Than-Human Worlds

By Moules, Nancy J. | Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, April 2000 | Go to article overview

Postmodernism and the Sacred: Reclaiming Connection in Our Greater-Than-Human Worlds


Moules, Nancy J., Journal of Marital and Family Therapy


This article addresses the many faces of postmodernism and offers the critique that postmodernism taken up in. a particular extremist way can tend to sacrifice the sacred, the spiritual, and the recognition of our "greater than human" worlds in a quest for the particular. In response to this critique, 1 speak to a postmodern family therapy practice that is informed by values of connectedness, community, and communion; enacted through love and pragmatics; and committed to recognition of our obligation to ecological practice.

To reclaim is to recall or bring back. I speak of "reclaiming connection" as recalling the right to acknowledge connection, meaning, and community. It is the prerogative, in an era that is fraught with particularity, to claim a commonality, a communion, and a sacred and spiritual unity that ties us to each other as humans and intimately ties us to a world that is greater than or certainly more than human Abram, 1996). It is the privilege to reconvene and summon a tentative and "larger-than-me" meaning, significance, and connection about that which is mysterious, sensual, and unknown.

In this article, I address and am addressed by) postmodernism, poststructuralism, constructivism, social constructionism, and "bring forthism." I offer a synopsis of the critique that has been proffered in regard to some of these stances as well as my own experience of finding my particular but connected human way in the practice of family therapy. Out of this discussion, I submit the notions of community, communion, and connectedness; examine how these can fit with a postmodern practice; and discuss how these bear witness and exact a duty and obligation in therapeutic work with families. The reconciliation of postmodern ideas and spirituality calls for a balancing of particular commitments. This does not necessarily imply a conflict, nor does it suggest that marriage and family therapists are suffering angst in this rapprochement. The intention of this article is not to offer "proof' of the place or relevance of spirituality in therapeutic work, nor to critique current practices, but to open the topic of spirituality once again for discussion, reflection, and recognition.

POSTMODERNISM AND ALL ITS FACES

Postmodernism

Postmodernism is an era, a cultural movement, a social condition, a belief system, and a way of being in and understanding the world. The end of a belief in one single worldview, it is "a resistance to single explanations, a respect for difference and a celebration of the regional, local and particular" (Jencks, 1992, p. 11 ). It isa worldview with contributions from philosophy, literature, art, culture, film, architecture, media, economics, politics, social sciences, feminism, science, and religion. At the heart of postmodernism is pluralism: a belief in multiverses and multiplicity, implying that there are as many ways to understand and experience the world as there are people who experience it. Postmodernism is about multiplicity, plurality, and indeterminacy. Postmodernists argue that all human experience is particular, local, and culturally constituted.

Postmodernism, particularly deconstructive postmodernism, is seen as a mode of cultural analysis that seeks to uncover the social construction of "taken-for-granted" beliefs or universals. It pays attention to the ways in which concepts or "truisms" are culturally constructed and posits that, essentially, meaning itself, as an essential structure, does not exist. Rather, meaning is particularized, relative, and mutable. Modernist claims of mastery evoked, in particular, the French theorist Lyotard's recourse of a critique of metanarratives or grand belief systems that contained a universal acceptance of reality. Lyotard ( 1984) described postmodern knowledge as a refinement of sensitivity and tolerance of difference.

Poststructuralism

There have been many areas of distinctions within postmodernism that have taken up, with varying emphasis, these notions of constructed reality. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Postmodernism and the Sacred: Reclaiming Connection in Our Greater-Than-Human Worlds
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.