The Alimentary Forms of Religious Life

Technologies of the Other, Lenience, and the Ethics of Ethiopian Orthodox Fasting

in Social Analysis
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  • 1 University of Glasgow diegomalara@hotmail.it
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Abstract

Focusing on the practice of fasting, this article traces the ethical efforts and conundrums of Ethiopian Orthodox Christians who take their religion seriously, but do not necessarily see themselves as disciplined believers. I argue that the flexibility and lenience of the Orthodox system allow for morally ambivalent disciplinary projects that, in order to preserve their efficacy, must be sustained by an array of intimate relationships with more pious individuals who are fasting for others or on others’ behalf. By examining this relational economy of spiritual care, its temporalities and divisions of labor, I ask whether recent preoccupations with ‘technologies of the self’ in the anthropology of religion might have overlooked the relevance of ‘technologies of the other’.

Contributor Notes

Diego Malara is an anthropologist working as a Lecturer in the Department of Sociology at the University of Glasgow. He has carried out fieldwork among Ethiopian Orthodox Christians in central and northern Ethiopia and more recently in Britain. His work focuses on Orthodox Christianity, spirit possession, ethics, media and technology, kinship and care, and visual ethnography. He has published articles on themes such as love and hierarchy, exorcism, and religious healing. He is the director of the documentary short film The Devil and the Holy Water (2016). E-mail: diegomalara@hotmail.it

Social Analysis

The International Journal of Anthropology

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