Unmaking the Modern Myth of Disenchantment: Drawing Alternatives.


Octobre 2022 à juin 2023


François Gauthier is Professor of Religious Studies at the Department of Social Sciences of the University of Fribourg in Switzerland since January 2013. A Quebecer who grew up on the shores of the Outaouais at the frontier between English and French Canada, he moved to Montreal where he first studied natural sciences, in particular physics, before discovering travel and the Humanities and Social Sciences. 

After completing a PhD at the Université du Québec à Montréal and two postdoctoral stays in France, he was named professor at his alma mater from 2009 to 2012. His empirical research was first conducted on the fringes, in the alter-globalization and techno movements, before turning to the Burning Man festival in the US and the ramifications of the counterculture into the so-called holistic or alternative spiritualities. His practice of sociology is steeped in anthropology and vice versa, and his broader project is to understand the religious and political mutations unraveling in our modernised and globalised societies. 

In addition to having edited and published numerous publications, he is co-editor of the «Revue du MAUSS semestrielle» and co-founder and co-editor-in-chief of the new English-language journal «MAUSS International». He is also a founding member of the Convivialist movement.

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Unmaking the Modern Myth of Disenchantment: Drawing Alternatives.

This project critically engages with one of the West’s most enduring and deeply rooted narrative and self-definition: its “disenchantment”. The main project considers the disenchantment narrative as a foundational myth for the West, and examines two opposing yet complimentary versions from Republican France (Marcel Gauchet) and Liberal North America (Charles Taylor). 

This exercise allows to unearth and shed light on the implicit assumptions and empirical and analytical errors on which these theories are built, supporting the hypothesis that the wider Modern Myth of Disenchantment acts to sacralize the West and hinders an equal to equal and equitable rapport to the “Rest” of the world in general, and Islam as well as the ex-colonies in particular. 

The project defines four pressing issues for which the Myth is prejudicial and alternatives are needed: 
1) The environmental crisis; 
2) Migrant hospitality, integration, and postcolonial relations; 
3) Thinking religion anew; 
and 4) Affronting the crisis of democracy. 

The sub-project makes the most of the Émile Poulat archives at the IEA de Nantes to examine and assess how social sciences have thought about religion and how its main approaches are penetrated by the Myth of Disenchantment.



Routledge International Handbook of Religion in Global Society, edited by Jayeel Cornelio, François Gauthier, Tuomas Martikainen, Linda Woodhead - 2022.

Religion, Modernity, Globalisation, Nation-State to Market, François Gauthier - 2021.

The Marketization of Religion, edited by François Gauthier and Tuomas Martikainen - 2020.

Religion. Le retour ? Entre violence, marché et politique, Revue du MAUSS - 2017.

Religion in Consumer Society - Brands, Consumers and Markets, by François Gauthier and Tuomas Martikainen - 2016.

Religion in the Neoliberal Age - Political Economy and Modes of Governance, by François Gauthier and Tuomas Martikainen - 2016.

Jeunes et religion au Québec, François Gauthier et Jean-Philippe Perreault - 2008.