A Companion to the Anthropology of Religion (Wiley Blackwell Companions to Anthropology)

A Companion to the Anthropology of Religion (Wiley Blackwell Companions to Anthropology)

Language: English

Pages: 584

ISBN: 1119124999

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


A Companion to the Anthropology of Religion presents a collection of original, ethnographically-informed essays that explore the variety of beliefs, practices, and religious experiences in the contemporary world and asks how to think about religion as a subject of anthropological inquiry.

  • Presents a collection of original, ethnographically-informed essays exploring the wide variety of beliefs, practices, and religious experiences in the contemporary world
  • Explores a broad range of topics including the ‘perspectivism’ debate, the rise of religious nationalism, reflections on religion and new media, religion and politics, and ideas of self and gender in relation to religious belief
  • Includes examples drawn from different religious traditions and from several regions of the world
  • Features newly-commissioned articles reflecting the most up-to-date research and critical thinking in the field, written by an international team of leading scholars
  • Adds immeasurably to our understanding of the complex relationships between religion, culture, society, and the individual in today’s world

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societies or cultures; and that some of the generally accepted con­ ceptual vocabulary of social theory may not readily capture them. Fairly thorough rethinking of some central concepts in social theory, such as structure, culture, or agency, may be required in order to acknowledge and accommodate the prevalence of ethical reflection, dilemma, judgment, and conduct. This kind of rethinking requires anthropology to be open to the variety of insights that might be gained from systematic reflection

undoubtedly been fruitful, enabling anthropologists to see the exercise of reflective thought and freedom in settings where what Mahmood (2005) calls “the progressive imaginary” least expects to find them. The concepts of “agency” and “resistance,” for a long time almost the only tools anthropologists used to try to give expression to their sense that the people they worked with are more than the passive products of structures or discourses, have proved inadequate to contexts in which the

transcendence to critique religions themselves. As described by Thornhill (2011), Jaspers argued: that the centre of religion is always formed by a falsely objectivized or absolutized claim to truth, which fails to recognize that transcendence occurs in many ways, and that transcendent truths cannot be made concrete as a set of factual statements or narratives. Religious world views are therefore examples of limited mental attitudes, which seek a hold in uniform doctrine in order to evade a

reason, passion, and ethics in spirit possession.” In Marlene Goldman and Jill Matus (eds), Models of Mind, special issue of University of Toronto Quarterly 79 (2): 720–741. Lambek, Michael (2010b) “Towards an ethics of the act.” In Michael Lambek (ed.), Ordinary Ethics: Anthropology, Language, and Action. New York: Fordham University Press, pp. 39–63. Lambek, Michael (2011) “Anthropology’s ontological anxiety and the concept of tradition.” Anthropologica, 53 (2): 317–322. Lambek, Michael (2013)

these beings or as the metamorphosis of their bodily fluids or parts. Their rich cosmology has been abundantly documented in the literature. How does it translate at the ontological and phenomenological levels? According to the Aborigines, the power and creative and reproductive essences of the Ancestral Beings continue to permeate the land in named places. These are constantly reenacted and renewed through ritual and mundane activities. Furthermore, at death, the spirit of the deceased rejoins

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