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Rethinking Anthropological Models of Spirit Possession and Theravada Buddhism

Erick White

As anthropology transitioned toward the study of peasant villages in the post–World War II era, articles and monographs analyzing Buddhist belief and ritual appeared more regularly. What began as a conversation among primarily anthropologists of

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Commentary on “Siting Pluralism”

Winnifred Fallers Sullivan

efforts to expel the sacred—or, perhaps more pointedly, as Neena Mahadev shows in her article, interventions to end it—condemn us to its constant reproduction. State secularism results not in the evacuation of the sacred but in an almost neurotic picking

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Sacred Spaces and Civic Action

Topographies of Pluralism in Russia

Melissa L. Caldwell

interactions among these groups, with special focus on the forms of religious pluralism that have emerged, before contemplating whether there is space for unexpected forms of religious/political pluralism, especially those that are oriented to more civic

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Beyond Economy and Religion

Resources and Socio-cosmic Fields in Odisha, India

Roland Hardenberg

purposes (see Hemme et al. 2007 ). For more than 40 years, Marshall Sahlins (2013: 163) has questioned what he has recently referred to, citing John Quiggins, as “zombie economic ideas.” By this phrase, Sahlins means that “the economy” is not seen as an

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The White Cotton Robe

Charisma and Clothes in Tibetan Buddhism Today

Magdalena Maria Turek

exemplified by amulets, and the application of this template onto relics ( Martin 1994 ; Sharf 1999 ), an item can wholly determine the dynamic of a charismatic performance. More than a “repository of power” ( Tambiah 1984: 203 ) and than insignia that

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Singular Pluralities

A Critical Review of Religious Pluralism

Anne-Sophie Lamine

From the 1980s onwards, much research has been carried out in order to analyze and compare the situation and the management of religious plurality in Western countries. While scholars in the social sciences of religion have seized on the question of plurality, those in migration studies have started to pay more and more attention to the religious dimension of migrants and their descent. Although macro-level plurality is more commonly investigated, internal religious plurality is of equal importance. This article provides a critical review of the various approaches of religious pluralism and emphasizes some under-investigated areas such as conflicts and internal plurality.

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Religion and Diaspora

Paul Christopher Johnson

Diaspora, and with it 'diasporic religion', has exploded as an area of research in the field of Religion, opening important paths of inquiry and analysis. This article traces the itineraries and intersections of Diaspora and Religion over the last two decades, especially vis-à-vis groups that activate multiple diasporic horizons. It then evaluates the risks of the overdispersion of Diaspora. To counter this, the article recommends more narrowly circumscribing Diasporic Religion in relation to 'territory', while at the same time rendering the question of what territoriality means more complex and diverse.

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The Anthropology of Religious Controversy

A Masters Level Course

Peter Collins and Yulia Egorova

I (Peter) remember sitting in a departmental meeting, doodling, preoccupied with the image of a hospital chapel. I had recently been involved in a research project seeking to document and explain the construction of religious/spiritual space in National Health Service (NHS) acute-care hospitals in the north of England. What was becoming more and more obvious was the growing tension between the distinction that staff and patients were making between ‘religion’ and ‘spirituality’. Admittedly, this tension was not especially surprising; indeed, it can be understood, in principle, as a reflection of the ambient climate of religiosity in the UK, as in many other Western countries (Flanagan and Jupp 2007; Heelas 2008; Heelas et al. 2004).

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Saints and Virgins

Religious Pluralism in the City of Tijuana

Alberto Hernández and Amalia Campos-Delgado

A double referent connoting both movement and immobility, the border region has been, for more than a century, the setting for those who come to stay, those who try to cross over into the United States, and, more recently, those who are deported from the US. Accordingly, the religious practices in this area flow along with the shifting populations and are transformed by them. From a socio-anthropological perspective, this article examines the main religious figures venerated in the city of Tijuana, located just south of the US-Mexico border, and the social contexts of their devotees, who have come from other parts of Mexico. This religious panorama does not display a homogeneous group of creeds, but rather reflects a variety of regional traditions in which religion is practiced and divine figures are revered.

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An Author Meets Her Critics

Around "The Mind Possessed: The Cognition of Spirit Possession in an Afro-Brazilian Religious Tradition" by Emma Cohen

Diana Espirito Santo, Arnaud Halloy, Pierre Liénard, and Emma Cohen

“Why spirits?” asks Emma Cohen (97)—why are concepts of intentional and agentive supernatural beings such as spirits and gods so prevalent cross-culturally? What makes them appealing, contagious, and lasting? And what kinds of assumptions about the world and its workings do they entail and do they generate? In The Mind Possessed, Cohen offers us some answers; to some degree by appealing to her ethnography of the Afro-Brazilian practice of batuque in the Amazon-bordering town of Belém, but mostly by subordinating particularistic concerns to what she considers more general ‘scientific’ ones. However, it may be the questions, rather than the answers, that merit revising.