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New Age

Session Chair: N.N. | Thursday, August 27, 3:30-5:30 | Venue

Sissel Undheim

Spiritual Lego. Toys, temples and New Age in the Lego brick universes of Ninjago and Chima

This paper will discuss the use and presence of eastern inspired New Age concepts in the creation of two recent and very popular additions to the toy company Lego’s brick collections: Lego Ninjago and Lego, the legends of Chima. Merging traditional fantasy-mythology with more specific references to Chinese and eastern religious traditions, both Lego Ninjago and Lego, the legends of Chima rely on general concepts relatively well known from the world of alternative spirituality. With a focus on the Confucian concept of qi/chi, as it is transferred and used as a key concept in the “Legends of Chima”, the paper will also discuss how the “new age frosting” found in these Lego products may be contributing to the toys’ popularity.

Anne Dyer-Witheford

New Age Practice Models Post-Fordist Production

This paper examines the parallels between New Age practices and values and post-Fordist work. New Age practices are excellent immaterial commodities; because seeking is multivariate and ongoing; because social good is implied beyond the consumption act; and because ‘spiritual’ branding allows a company to sell a varied and changing product line without diluting brand strength. However, the relation of New Age spirituality and capitalist production is under-explored. Industrial research sees spirituality as an imposed or emergent ethos supporting work, uninterested in its independent, parallel and productive character. Nevertheless, organizational forms (complementary production/consumption as nodes in networks) and skills valued (creativity, cooperation, and affective intensity) are similar for spirituality practices and generic information and cultural services production. This paper outlines these parallels and accounts for them through providing, for New Age spirituality, a model of it relation to post-Fordist industry that is similar to what David Harvey and Fredric Jameson offered for postmodern culture.


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