Stef Aupers (1969) is a cultural sociologist and works as an associate professor at the Centre for Rotterdam Cultural Sociology (CROCUS) at Erasmus University Rotterdam. He is an editor of the Dutch journal Sociologie, a member of the editorial board of ESA Research Network for the Sociology of Religion and published – often together with his colleagues – in journals like Sociologie, Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, Information, Communication and Society, Annual Review of the Sociology of Religion, European Journal of Cultural Studies, Asian Journal of Social Science, Journal of Contemporary Religion, American Behavioral Scientist and European Journal of Communication.
Stef is mainly interested in how growing discontents about tradition and modern institutions, already acknowledged by classical sociologists like Weber, Durkheim and Marx, actually motivate cultural change in the West. In February 2004 he defended his PhD-thesis on the appeal of non-institutional forms of spirituality in an alleged secular, rationalized and ‘disenchanted’ modern world and he wrote numerous articles and three books on this subject. Many of these are published with Dick Houtman (Erasmus University). With Peter Pels, Dick Houtman, Ineke Noomen and Dorien Zandbergen, he furthermore collaborated in the NWO-funded research project Cyberspace Salvations: Computer Technology, Simulation, and Modern Gnosis. This research project lead to various publications on new media culture over the last years – particularly on the social, cultural and religious significance of online computer games like World of Warcraft. Since September 2011, he is involved in another NWO-funded research project titled Conspiracy Culture in the Netherlands: Modernity and Its Cultural Discontents together with Peter Achterberg, Dick Houtman and Jaron Harambam.
Stef Aupers’ latest international books are Religions of Modernity: Relocating the Sacred to the Self and the Digital (Leiden: Brill, 2010, edited with Dick Houtman) and Paradoxes of Individualization: Social Control and Social Conflict in Contemporary Modernity (Aldershot: Ashgate, forthcoming 2011, with Dick Houtman and Willem de Koster). In 2012 a monograph titled Under the Spell of Modernity – a translation and revision of his dissertation – will be published at Ashgate.