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Anthropology of Europe Redux

Déjà vu in the South

Jon P. Mitchell

For good reasons, anthropology some decades ago deconstructed the Mediterraneanist picture of familialist societies in the South. However, this deconstruction unexpectedly had its political twin in Malta’s fight against corruption to meet the conditions for EU-membership in 2004. Drawing on a deeper concept of “territoriality”, introduced by anthropologist Ina-Maria Greverus, the article considers lately observed new variants of nationalist positions that paradoxically are deeply entwined with clientelistic dynamics against the state, culminating in the recent murder of critical journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia.

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For Belief

Embodiment and Immanence in Catholicism and Mormonism

Jon P. Mitchell and Hildi J. Mitchell

This article argues for belief, suggesting that the reason why anthropologists might have moved against belief is their persistent attachment to a linguistic model of religion that sees the job of the anthropologist of religion as being one of translation. In such a model, the absence of the word 'belief' signals the absence of the process. We argue for the enduring utility of belief, not as a linguistic category, but as a description of experiential processes at the heart of religion. Using examples from popular Catholicism and Mormonism, we contend that such processes are rooted in the body. Through bodily practice and performance, religion is generated as an immanent force in the world—people come to believe.