Methodology used in preparing the Catalog of Contemporary Traditionalism

Searches Stars History Thanks
Searches and reliability

This catalog has been built primarily on the basis of searches of the internet using the terms "Guénon," "Schuon," "Evola" and "Coomaraswany," and their equivalents in Cyrillic script. In July 2003, a search on Google on this basis returned almost 1,500 hits. Some of these could be discarded immediately-- J. Evola of Ontario is a builder, not a Traditionalist, and Alfred Schuon operates a trucking business between Germany and Hungary. A guenon is also a type of monkey. All the remaining hits were investigated and added to the catalog where appropriate, save that a scope was adopted for investigating websites in Russian (for reasons of efficiency in view of my own linguistic deficiencies). Some Russian websites returning only one or two hits to Google, then, may have been incorrectly excluded from the catalog, but the groups or individuals behind such sites are unlikely to be important.

A Google search cannot be relied on to detect every single mention of the terms searched on, and not every Traditionalist group has a presence on the internet. Search results were therefore supplemented by following links from major sites, and occasionally from my own knowledge from non-digital sources. These supplemental sources of information did not reveal any significant Traditionalist group in Europe or North America that had not previously been found from the search results, giving useful assurance of completeness of coverage.

My own knowledge from other sources, however, indicated that there were significant omissions from coverage of Traditionalism outside Europe and the Americas, notably in Turkey (which has a few entries in the catalog, but not many) and in Iran. These omissions reflect the lesser degree of web connectivity in areas such as these. The catalog, then, is not complete with regard to these areas.


Star ratings

Each group has been awarded between one and five stars to signal its importance. Stars have inevitably been awarded on a somewhat subjective and unscientific basis, but attention has always been paid to the following factors:

  • quantity, quality and significance of a group's activities
  • size of a group
  • degree of traditionalism
  • any other special factor that makes the group worthy of attention
In general, individuals whose activities are limited to a single website have received no more than two stars. At least one star is always awarded.
History of the Catalog

As the web grows, the Traditionalist presence on the web grows too.

In 1998, when I first analyzed the Traditionalist presence "in Cyberspace" for a conference paper, there were only a dozen or so websites mentioning the name "Guénon." By 2003, the number of responses to a search on the terms "Guénon or Schuon or Evola" was so great that a database was needed to process them.

In 1998, some Traditionalists had a presence on the web, but many or perhaps most did not. By 2003, most Traditionalist groups of any importance had a presence on the web, meaning that a survey of websites picked up most Traditionalist activity, not just a section of it. There are certainly still some Traditionalist groups without a presence of any sort on the web, however, and these will in most cases be missing from the catalog.

The catalog derives ultimately from th appendix to a paper given at the Fourth Nordic Conference on Middle Eastern Studies. The original text of that paper is available here . A revised version of the paper appears in The Middle East in a Globalized World , edited by Bjørn Olav Utvik and Knut S. Vikør (Bergen: Nordic Society for Middle Eastern Studies, 2000. ISBN 1-85065-579-0).


Many interesting aspects of approaches to analyzing websites were suggested by Ermete Mariani, " Fatwa on-line : Proposition pour une méthode de lecture" (paper delivered at Fourth Mediterranean Social and Political Research Meeting held in Florence & Montecatini Terme, 19-23 March 2003).

This page last updated July 12, 2003. was established June 19, 2000.
This page was last revised July 21, 2006 .
Comments © Mark Sedgwick, 1998, 2000-2006