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UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Healing in the anthropause : reclamation, resacralization and anti-vaccination in Aotearoa/New Zealand Rittman, Sadie


In a New Age community in Queenstown, Aotearoa/New Zealand, “healing” is a widely used term with spiritual, ecological and social implications that can be examined as a response to capitalism and climate change. It involves reclaiming and re-sacralizing connections and relationships towards re-enchantment. Participatory “connection,” with attending magical consciousness, is emphasized in opposition to the separations that are at the root of our climate crisis. In this context, and particularly as Aotearoa/New Zealand was spared the worst of the pandemic during my research, the social interruption presented by Covid-19 was widely understood as a time of hope and healing, accompanied by profound personal experiences. This understanding would come to clash with government solutions in the form of vaccinations, masks, and mandates, resulting ultimately in a protest at parliament taking shape as a festival. This thesis explores New Age responses to the pandemic in terms of myth, religiosity, and complex ontological dimensions of re-enchantment in the context of climate crisis, situating the conflict over healing as a problem for the Anthropocene. For this community, the pandemic as a cosmopolitical event offered an opportunity to protest “sick society,” its functioning and constructs for truth as nexused in the authority of vaccinations and mandates, in favor of a “new world.”

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