Examining the Religious Dimension of Managerial Practices and Discourses in Slovakia
The aim of the project is to analyse management practices and discourses that encourage employees’ personal development and well-being in Slovak companies. Personal development includes different practices and ideas that can be found in bookshops: they can involve the practices of relaxation, yoga and meditation, as well as participation in different therapies, such as naturopathy, reflexology, coaching, NLP and psychology sessions, seminars and so on (Marquis, 2014). Since the 1990s, these practices and ideas have also entered the business environment. Recently, they have centred on employees’ happiness. Adopting the approach of religious studies, alongside that of sociology and culture studies, my research explores what the religious aspects in these managerial discourses and practices are.
My research question was inspired by two hypotheses. Personal development and well-being practices and discourses in business embody the spirit of capitalism and consumerism while offering power to act and happiness to the selves of employees. At the same time, they represent a new form of religion in the capitalist and consumerist society. As Luc Boltanski and Ève Chiappelo (1999) state, capitalism is linked to an ideology that justifies it, the “spirit of capitalism”. For Colin Campbell, the value of well-being would be an expression of the “spirit of consumerism” (1987). This hedonistic, romantic stance encourages and legitimises consumption. I will use ethnographic methods, inspired also by digital ethnography, to test these hypotheses.
My name is Zuzana Bártová and I am a researcher at the Institute of Sociological Studies at the Faculty of Social Sciences, Charles University, Prague. I also work as a lecturer in religious studies at the University of Pardubice. After my bachelor degree in religious studies at Charles University, I relocated to France. I graduated from the University of Strasbourg with a PhD thesis on Buddhist religiosity of French and Czech converts in consumer culture in 2019. I focused on how this form of Buddhism conformed to consumerism and lifestyle as a cultural model of consumer culture with its emphasis on identity construction. I also showed how it was connected to middle class values, representations and practices. My current research within the project of "Re-enchantment of Central-Eastern Europe“ explores personal development in the workplace in Slovakia. I pay particular attention to its religious dimension.
2021: ʻThe Buddhist style in consumer culture: from aesthetics to emotional patterns.ʼ Journal of Religion in Europe, ca 25 pages. Forthcoming (2021)
2020: ʻL’authenticité comme valeur centrale de l’engagement religieux dans la culture de consommation : le cas des pratiquants bouddhistes en France et en République tchèqueʼ. (Authenticity as a Central Value of the Religious Engagement in Consumer Culture: A Case Study of Buddhist Practitioners in France and the Czech Republic) Studies in Religion/Sciences religieuses, 2020, pp. 1-22
2014: ʻDiamond Way in the Age of Globalization: A study of Transnational Buddhist Community Formationʼ. Religio, 22 (2), 2014, pp. 131-149