Mikhail Dobrovol'skiy 1
  • 1 National Research University Higher School of Economics, 20 Myasnitskaya Str., Moscow, 101000, Russian Federation

The Spiritual Ethic and the Spirit of Late Capitalism

2019, vol. 18, No. 4, pp. 231–262 [issue contents]
The classical Weberian concept of disenchantment with the world has been criticized during the last several decades. However, this paper proceeds from the assumption that today it is possible to find a modern analogue of the protestant ethic, which helps to create a new version of capitalism. It is typical for late, or “liquid”, modernity to create an atmosphere of total uncertainty, which affects both individuals and organizations, in particular in the business sphere. The modern sacralization of the self, embodied in the discourse of New Age spirituality, takes place along with the shrinking of the public space and the expansion of the consumer society. On the one hand, the celebration of self-development helps individuals to deal with the condition of existential insecurity created by late modernity, and to construct a new behavioral ethic, implying an investment in their own personal growth. On the other hand, such an ideology allows business to adapt to the new, chaotic market reality. A “spiritual manager” inspires their staff to be more creative and pro-active. He or she is a visionary who acts not only for profit, but also for the sake of a mission. Thus, if the initial goal of Weberian Protestantism was salvation, modern spirituality concentrates on self-development in a profane reality because the self becomes the only valuable commodity.
Citation: Dobrovol'skiy M. (2019) Spiritualisticheskaya etika i novyy dukh kapitalizma [The Spiritual Ethic and the Spirit of Late Capitalism]. The Russian Sociological Review, vol. 18, no 4, pp. 231-262 (in Russian)
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