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Larissa Titarenko

There is a stereotype that such former Soviet republics as Russia, Ukraine and Belarus are totally Orthodox. However, this statement is not entirely correct, as part of the population in these countries belong to many different churches, while a large part have rather eclectic religious and para-religious beliefs. In the case of Belarus, a major part of the population belongs to two Christian confessions, Orthodox and Catholic, while many other confessions and new religious movements also exist. Religious pluralism is a practical reality in Belarus which has the reputation of the most religiously tolerant post-Soviet country. Contemporary laws provide the legal basis for the tolerant relations in the country, and there is a historical tradition of religious tolerance in Belarus. Research data from the EVS studies and national surveys are used.

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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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Winnifred Fallers Sullivan

There are some things we seem to need to learn over and over and over. Among them are the ways in which modern legal 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 at the scab of the wound—and the continuous management of what Hussein Agrama (2012: 186) has called the “problem-space of secularism.” The four articles collected here are exemplary in their fine-grained analysis of this reality, both of the often pathetic inadequacy of regulatory efforts and, even more interestingly, of the glimpses we have of religious life lived in the in-between spaces of formal policing efforts, whether of church or state. The spatial gesture uniting this collection—siting pluralism—proves particularly potent. Sometimes imagined as uncompromisingly singular (i.e., spatial ‘locative’ religion as opposed to utopian portable religion) and at other times as spatial in a plural, less exclusive sense, the spaces/places of these articles are teeming with contradiction and multiplicity.

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Adrian Albano, Els van Dongen and Shinya Takeda

The Philippines is one of the many countries that currently acknowledge the presence of indigenous peoples (IPs) within their territories. This acknowledgment often comes with a formal recognition of the rights of IPs, including the right to practice their customary laws. Because of the equal existence of overarching state laws, this formally leads to a situation of legal pluralism for IPs. For many forest conservation advocates, legal pluralism for IPs, particularly with regard to land ownership and forest management, is expected to help conserve forests. This expectation, however, is founded on the erroneous assumption that the traditional land use of IPs is nondestructive and that traditional land ownership is communal. Using a relatively long historical perspective, this article demonstrates that these assumptions do not apply to the Kalanguya of Tinoc, the Philippines. In contrast to the notion of IPs being market-averse, this article further demonstrates that many Kalanguya have been and remain “capitalists”. The article favors the inclusion of a market-based forest conservation policy, which is arguably consistent with the reality of value pluralism.

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Rudi Colloredo-Mansfeld

The Ecuadorian indigenous movement emerged just as the binaries that once defined the Indian/white boundary became acknowledged internal polarities of indigenous society. In this article, I argue that these divergences energized indigenous communities, which built material infrastructure, social networks, and political capital across widening gaps in values and incomes. They managed this task through a kind of vernacular statecraft, making the most of list making, council formation, and boundary drawing. As the movement shifts into electoral politics, the same community politics that launched it now challenges the national organization. As they work to define a coherent national program, the principal organizations of the national movement must reproduce the local contacts and relations among communities that made Ecuador's indigenous pluriculturalism such a potent presence in the 1990s.

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Post-war Blood

Sacrifice, Anti-sacrifice, and the Rearticulations of Conflict in Sri Lanka

Neena Mahadev

Since 2009, in the aftermath of Sri Lanka’s ethnic war, certain contingents of Sinhala Buddhists have lodged attacks against religious minorities, whom they censure for committing violence against animals in accordance with the dictates of their gods. Considering these interventions against sacrifice in spaces of shared Hindu and Buddhist religiosity, this article examines the economies of derogation, violence, and scapegoating in post-war Sri Lanka. Within Sinhala Buddhism, sacrifice is considered bio-morally impure yet politically efficacious, whereas meritorious Buddhist discipleship is sacrificial only in aspirational, bloodless terms. Nevertheless, both practices fall within the spectrum of Sinhala Buddhist religious life. Majoritarian imperatives concerning postwar blood impinge upon marginal sites of shared religiosity—spaces where the blood of animals is spilled and, ironically, where political potency can be substantively shored up. The article examines the siting of sacrifice and the purifying majoritarian interventions against it, as Buddhists strive to assert sovereignty over religious others.

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Emma Findlen LeBlanc

informants’ narratives about justice, pluralism, self-determination and democracy should not be accepted as objective, or even always accurate, depictions of the actual operations of the Sharia Committees. However, their narratives provide valuable insights

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Multiple Sovereignties and Summary Justice in Mozambique

A Critique of Some Legal Anthropological Terms

Bjørn Enge Bertelsen

Mozambique has echoed developments in other sub-Saharan countries by recently 'recognizing' its traditional authorities and extending their powers. Some celebrate this as 'legal pluralism' and what Boaventura de Sousa Santos calls a 'heterogeneous state'. I question such assessments on the basis of case material collected in Chimoio, Mozambique, from 2007 to 2008. The two cases presented here explore the 2008 spate of the burning of alleged thieves and an individual's search for protection in a poor neighborhood. Overall, the article aims to suggest a reformulation of some political and legal anthropology developed in the context of Africa and, especially, to avoid some of the universalizing typologies and individuating features of such anthropology.

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Plural Modernity

Changing Modern Institutional Forms—Disciplines and Nation-States

Filipe Carreira da Silva and Mónica Brito Vieira

The article begins with the assumption that modernity is undergoing a profound change. The focus is on the structural transformation of two typical modern institutional regimes: the academic discipline and the territorial nation-state. Their demise as the predominant institutional forms in the realms of science and politics signals the end of the modern project—or at least the need for its profound redefinition. It is suggested that such a redefinition entails a radical conceptual shift in the social sciences and that the meta-theoretical expression of this shift can be designated as 'dialogical pluralism'. At a theoretical level, both modernization theories and the recent program of 'multiple modernities' are rejected. A plural modernity, with several distinct varieties, seems a more promising perspective.

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Authenticity, hybridity, and difference

Debating national identity in twentieth-century Mexico

Wil G. Pansters

This article studies the transformation of the debate about national culture in twentieth-century Mexico by looking at the complex relationship between discourses of authenticity and mestizaje. The article firstly demonstrates how in the first half of the twentieth century, Mexican national identity was constructed out of a state-led program of mestizaje, thereby supposedly giving rise to a new and authentic identity, the mestizo (nation). Secondly, it is argued that the authentication project around mestizaje is riddled with paradoxes that require explanation. Thirdly, the article studies the political dimension of the authenticity discourse and demonstrates how the homogenizing and unifying forces that spring from the process of authentication played an important role in buttressing an authoritarian regime. Fourthly, the article looks at two recent developments: indigenous cultural politics and transnationalism. Here it is shown how discourses of difference, pluralism, and transnationalism are challenging the central tenets of Mexican post-revolutionary national culture and the boundaries of the national Self.