Romy Sauvayre: “Astrology allows individuals to stand out”

Sociologist specializing in the mechanisms of belief and researcher at the Laboratory of Social and Cognitive Psychology in Clermont-Ferrand, Romy Sauvayre is developing a historical approach to the sciences of divination to understand this new craze.

Romy Sauvayre is a sociologist, specialist in the mechanisms of belief. Researcher at the Laboratory of Social and Cognitive Psychology (Lapsco) in Clermont-Ferrand, she is developing a historical approach to divinatory sciences to understand this new craze.

LE FIGARO – How to explain, in 2022, the renewed interest in astrology?

Romy SAUVAYRE– Beyond the current context, we are witnessing a generation effect. Astrology took a bit of a “has-been” turn in the 1990s. When one generation rejects a practice, the next is more likely to adopt it. This had already been the case for about three years with the emergence of dedicated applications, and the pandemic was an accelerator. The time given to reading and reflection was conducive to the discovery of other dimensions. Whatever the beliefs, they aim to reveal a part of the world, of reality, to help individuals in their daily lives according to their personality, although no scientific discovery has established a link between the date birth and character traits. In short, it allows individuals to stand out.

On the contrary, isn’t there a need to belong to a group that deciphers the world according to the same references?

In the Middle Ages, astrology was a science. The planet Mars, for example, explained certain venereal diseases. Then medicine came into competition. For a time, we shared the causes, then astrology was excluded. Today, it adorns itself with science to give credibility to the practice, to legitimize it. The use of NASA maps, for example, gives confidence to the greatest number and facilitates the adhesion of the most skeptical. We add a layer of technicality and this conveys the idea that astrology has a particular value, even if it means becoming a little elitist. People with knowledge of this practice will naturally federate and form a united group.

Various studies point to a correlation between belief in parasciences and adherence to conspiracy theories. What is its origin?

Astrology uses science to give intellectual backing to something that has none. And in a second step, we will disqualify science, by affirming that it does not have all the answers. Conspiracy seems to come from the same social and behavioral levers and responds to the same rejection of the institution, whether political, media or religious. The probability that the younger generation adheres to these conspiratorial theses is higher because it mainly consumes information on social networks. This is the whole problem of misinformation and the lack of a filter. In rare cases, this can be a gateway to movements considered more harmful and pointed out by the Interministerial Mission for Vigilance and the Fight against Sectarian Aberrations (Miviludes).

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Romy Sauvayre: “Astrology allows individuals to stand out”

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