Religion and Society

Advances in Research

Simon Coleman, University of Toronto
Sondra L. Hausner,
University of Oxford

Reviews Editors:
Anastasios Panagiotopoulos, University of Seville, Spain
Eugenia Roussou,
CRIA, ISCTE-IUL, University Institute of Lisbon, Portugal

Due to a marked increase in submisssions we may not respond to you right away. We thank you in advance for your patience.

Subjects: Anthropology of Religion, Religious Studies, Sociology of Religion

Special Issue Proposal

Latest Issue Table of Contents

Volume 14 (2023): Issue 1 (Sep 2023)

Volume 15 / 2024, 1 issue per volume (autumn)

Aims & Scope

Religion and Society: Advances in Research responds to the need for a rigorous, in-depth review of current work in the expanding sub-discipline of the anthropology of religion. In addition, this important, peer-reviewed annual aims to provide a dynamic snapshot of developments in the study of religion as a whole and encourages interdisciplinary perspectives.

Each volume contains a Portrait section that profiles a senior scholar of religion, with invited essays on the scholar's work by authorities in their respective subfields. In the Articles section, contributions provide overviews of a given topic with critical, "positioned" views of the subject and of relevant research. In the Debate section, scholars of religion reflect on a high-profile issue or event, and the Author Meets Critics section invites discussants to comment on a recently published volume, followed by a response from the author. Other sections cover teaching, news, and—vitally—reviews of new books and ethnographic films.


Religion and Society: Advances in Research is indexed/abstracted in:

  • ATLA Religion Database (American Theological Library Association)
  • Bibliometric Research Indicator List (BFI)
  • Emerging Sources Citation Index (Web of Science)
  • European Reference Index for the Humanities and the Social Sciences (ERIH PLUS)
  • IBR – International Bibliography of Book Reviews of Scholarly Literature on the Humanities and Social Sciences (De Gruyter)
  • IBZ – International Bibliography of Periodical Literature (De Gruyter)
  • MLA International Bibliography Religion and Philosophy (Gale)
  • Norwegian Register for Scientific Journals, Series and Publishers
  • Scopus (Elsevier)

Simon Coleman, University of Toronto, Canada
Sondra L. Hausner, University of Oxford, UK

Reviews Editors
Anastasios Panagiotopoulos, University of Seville, Spain
Eugenia Roussou, CRIA, ISCTE-IUL, University Institute of Lisbon, Portugal

Editorial Board
Fenella Cannell,  London School of Economics, UK
Rosalind Hackett, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, USA
Michael Houseman, École Pratique des Hautes Études, Paris, France
Hubert Knoblauch, Technische Universität Berlin, Germany
Filippo Osella, University of Sussex, UK
Joel Robbins, University of Cambridge, UK
Ramon Sarró, University of Oxford, UK
Muhammad Q. Zaman, Princeton University, USA

Advisory Board
Olufunke Adeboye, University of Lagos, Nigeria
David Berliner, Université Libre de Bruxelles, Belgium
Fiona Bowie, King's College, London, UK
Andrew Buckser, SUNY-Plattsburgh, USA
Michael Carrithers, Durham University, UK
Subhadra Mitra Channa, University of Delhi, India
Matthew Engelke, Columbia University, USA
Ann Grodzins Gold, Syracuse University, USA
Danièle Hervieu-Léger, École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, Paris, France
Webb Keane, University of Michigan, USA
Michal Kravel-Tovi, Tel Aviv University, Israel
Michael Lambek, University of Toronto, Canada
Tanya Luhrmann, Stanford University, USA
Gordon Lynch, University of Kent, UK
Maya Mayblin, University of Edinburgh, UK
Birgit Meyer, University of Utrecht, Netherlands
David Morgan, Duke University, USA
Stephan Palmié, University of Chicago, USA
Ursula Rao, The Max Planck Institute, Germany
Roberta Ricucci, University of Turin, Italy
Benjamin Soares, University of Florida, USA
Pamela J. Stewart, University of Pittsburgh, USA
Andrew Strathern, University of Pittsburgh, USA
Linda Woodhead, Lancaster University, UK

Manuscript Submission

Due to a marked increase in submisssions we may not respond to you right away. We thank you in advance for your patience.

Please review the submission and style guidelines carefully before submitting.

Please submit articles, reviews, and other contributions as Microsoft Word or Rich Text Format (rtf) files by e-mail to the editors:

Simon Coleman at and Sondra Hausner at

Book Reviewers, please read the letter from the Book Reviews Editors.

Articles and profiles should be approximately 7,000 words (including notes and references), although longer articles may be considered. Approximate word count for other submissions are as follows:

  • Responses to articles or profiles: 1,000 words
  • News and conferences: 5,000 words
  • Debate: 3,000 words
  • Teaching the Anthropology of Religion: 3,000 words
  • Reflections on a text: 1,000 words each and author responses 2,000 words
  • Book reviews: 800 words

Have other questions? Please refer to the Berghahn Info for Authors page for general information and guidelines including topics such as article usage and permissions for Berghahn journal article authors.

Special Issue Proposal

License Agreement

As part of the Berghahn Open Anthro initiative, articles in Religion and Society: Advances in Research (ARRS) are published open access under a Creative Commons license.

Authors must visit our License Options page to select and download their preferred license agreement. Completed and signed forms should be sent to

Ethics Statement

Authors published in Religion and Society: Advances in Research (ARRS) certify that their works are original and their own. The editors certify that all materials, with the possible exception of editorial introductions, book reviews, and some types of commentary, have been subjected to blind peer review by qualified scholars in the field. While the publishers and the editorial board make every effort to see that no inaccurate or misleading data, opinions, or statements appear in this journal, they wish to make clear that the data and opinions appearing in the articles herein are the sole responsibility of the contributor(s) concerned. For a more detailed explanation concerning these qualifications and responsibilities, please see the complete ARRS ethics statement.

Annual Subscriptions

Volume 15/2024, 1 issue p.a. (autumn)
ISSN 2150-9298 (Print) · ISSN 2150-9301 (Online)
(rates include handling & surface postage)

Free Sample Issue (Online)
Recommend to Your Library


Contact Berghahn or your subscription agent to subscribe/renew:

2024 Pricing

Institutional Rate (Print & Online)*
$235.00 / £139.00 / €171.00

Institutional Rate (Online Only)*
$196.00 / £126.00 / €156.00

*Tier 1 pricing. In 2024, we have introduced a new tiered pricing system. We aim to provide smaller institutions and cultural institutions with fair pricing that correlates to their size and/or number of patrons served. The tier breakdowns and explanations are noted here. To view all 2024 tier rates, please click here. Please email for questions about your institution's tier classification.

Society for the Anthropology Religion (SAR) Member Rate (Online Only)
Individual: $26.00 / £17.00 / €23.00
Student: $15.00 / £10.00 / €12.00
Members: Please let Berghahn know you are an SAR member, and the discounted pricing will be applied.

Individual Rate (Print & Online)
$49.95 / £32.95 / €39.95 / Purchase here

Individual Rate (Online Only)
$34.95 / £22.95 / €30.00 / Purchase here

Student Rate (Online Only)
$19.95 / £13.95 / €15.95 / Purchase here*
*must include valid student ID

Single issues:
Contact Berghahn for pricing and availability.

Please direct all inquiries regarding subscription to

Berghahn Journals Subscriptions
c/o Berghahn Books
20 Jay Street, Suite 502
Brooklyn, NY 11201
Phone: 212-233-6004

Don't have a subscription? Find other ways to access the journal here, or recommend the journal to your library.

  • Collapse
  • Expand

Religion and Society is a part of the Berghahn Open Anthro subscribe-to-open initiative. Launched in 2020, BOA-S2O has successfully converted a collection of 16 anthropology journals to full Open Access using S2O as its equitable and sustainable model of choice.

The Return of the Animists

Recent Studies of Amazonian Ontologies

The ethnography of lowland South American societies has occupied a central place in recent debates concerning what has been called the 'ontological turn' in anthropology. The concepts of 'animism' and 'perspectivism', which have been revigorated through studies of Amerindian ontologies, figure increasingly in the ethnographies of non-Amerindian peoples and in anthropological theory more generally. This article traces the theoretical and empirical background of these concepts, beginning with the influence of Lévi-Strauss's work on the anthropology of Philippe Descola and Eduardo Viveiros de Castro, and proceeding with their impact on Amazonian ethnography. It then investigates the problems that two alternative traditions—one combining a cognitivist with a pragmaticist approach, the other a phenomenological one—pose to recent studies of Amazonian ontologies that rely on the concepts of animism and perspectivism. The article concludes by considering how animism and perspectivism affect our descriptions of Amerindian society and politics, highlighting the new challenges that studies of Amerindian ontologies have begun to address.


Material things and phenomena have come to vie with belief and thought as worthy subjects of inquiry in the interdisciplinary study of religion. Yet, to the extent that we are justified in speaking of a “material turn”, no consensus has arisen about what materiality is or does. This article offers a preliminary sketch of the diverse terrain of material religion studies, delineating three dominant approaches to religious materiality as well as an emerging alternative. It argues that the dominant approaches—respectively characterized by an emphasis on symbolism, material disciplines, and phenomenological experience—continue to privilege the human subject while material things themselves struggle to come into sharp focus. That is, they remain anthropocentric and beholden to the biases against materiality deeply entrenched in the study of religion. Such biases may be negotiated more successfully via the emerging alternative “new materialism”.

Religion, Space, and Place

The Spatial Turn in Research on Religion


Following a consideration of the impact of the late twentieth-century spatial turn on the study of religion by geographers, anthropologists, sociologists, historians, and religious studies scholars, two trends are distinguished: the poetics of place and the sacred; and politics, religion, and the contestation of space. Discussion of these reveals substantially different approaches to religion, space, and place—one phenomenological, the other social constructivist. The spatial turn has been extremely fruitful for research on religion, bringing together scholars from a variety of disciplines, and connecting not only to traditional areas such as sacred space and pilgrimage, but to new ones such as embodiment, gender, practice and religious-secular engagements.


How do we take indigenous animism seriously in the sense proposed by Viveiros de Castro? In this article, I pose this challenge to all the major theories of animism, stretching from Tylor and Durkheim, over Lévi-Strauss to Ingold. I then go on to draw a comparison between Žižek's depiction of the cynical milieu of advanced capitalism in which ideology as “false consciousness” has lost force and the Siberian Yukaghirs for whom ridiculing the spirits is integral to their game of hunting. Both know that, in their activity, they are following an illusion, but still they go along with it; both are ironically self-conscious about not taking the ruling ethos at face value. This makes me suggest an alternative: perhaps it is time for anthropology not to take indigenous animism too seriously.


Jean Comaroff

Colonial frontiers, we have long been told, put conventional categories at risk. I grew up on one such frontier, itself an anachronism in the late-twentieth-century world—apartheid South Africa, where many of the key terms of liberal modernity were scandalously, publically violated. Religion was one of them. Some have argued that the act of separating the sacred from the secular is the founding gesture of liberal modern state making (Asad 2003: 13). In this, South Africa was a flagrant exception. There, the line between faith and politics was always overtly contested, always palpably porous. Faith-based arguments were central to politics at its most pragmatic, to competing claims of sovereignty and citizenship, to debates about the nature of civilization or the content of school curricula. As a settler colony, South Africa had long experimented with ways to ‘modernize racial domination’ (Adam 1971) in the interests of capitalist production, frequently with appeals to theology. After 1948, in contrast with the spirit of a decolonizing world, the country fell under the sway of Afrikaner rulers of overtly Calvinist bent. They set about formalizing a racial division of labor that ensured that black populations, the Children of Ham, remained economically subservient and politically marginal.