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.
A Critical Review of Religious Pluralism
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.
Sacrifice, Anti-sacrifice, and the Rearticulations of Conflict in Sri Lanka
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.
Religious Plurality, Interreligious Pluralism, and Spatialities of Religious Difference
Jeremy F. Walton and Neena Mahadev
The introduction to this special section foregrounds the key distinction between ‘religious plurality’ and ‘interreligious pluralism’. Building from the example of a recent controversy over an exhibition on shared religious sites in Thessaloniki, Greece, we analyze the ways in which advocates and adversaries of pluralism alternately place minority religions at the center or attempt to relegate them to the margins of visual, spatial, and political fields. To establish the conceptual scaffolding that supports this special section, we engage the complex relations that govern the operations of state and civil society, sacrality and secularity, as well as spectacular acts of disavowal that simultaneously coincide with everyday multiplicities in the shared use of space. We conclude with brief summaries of the four articles that site religious plurality and interreligious pluralism in the diverse contexts of Brazil, Russia, Sri Lanka, and the Balkans.
On Moral Imperfection, Correctness, and Deferral in Religious Worlds
Andreas Bandak and Tom Boylston
This article uses ethnographic studies of Orthodox Christianities as a way to investigate the concept of 'orthodoxy' as it applies to religious worlds. Orthodoxy, we argue, is to be found neither in opposition to popular religion nor solely in institutional churches, but in a set of encompassing relations among clergy and lay people that amounts to a religious world and a shared tradition. These relations are characterized by correctness and deferral—formal modes of relating to authority that are open-ended and non-definitive and so create room for certain kinds of pluralism, heterodoxy, and dissent within an overarching structure of faith and obedience. Attention to the aesthetics of orthodox practice shows how these relations are conditioned in multi-sensory, often non-linguistic ways. Consideration of the national and territorial aspects of Orthodoxy shows how these religious worlds of faith and deferral are also political worlds.
Topographies of Pluralism in Russia
Melissa L. Caldwell
This article examines several key sites where Russia’s civic and religious bodies intersect in pursuit of social justice goals. Based on ethnographic fieldwork among religious communities and social justice organizations in Moscow, the article focuses on the physical, social, and legal spaces where church and state, secular and sacred, civic and personal intersect and the consequences of these intersections for how Russians understand new configurations of church and state, private and public, religious and political. Of particular concern is the emergence of new forms of religious and political pluralism that transcend any one particular space, such as for worship, community life, or political support or protest, and instead reveal shifting practices and ethics of social justice that are more pluralist, progressive, and tolerant than they may appear to be to outside observers.
Mariske Westendorp, Bruno Reinhardt, Reinaldo L. Román, Jon Bialecki, Alexander Agadjanian, Karen Lauterbach, Juan Javier Rivera Andía, Kate Yanina DeConinck, Jack Hunter, Ioannis Kyriakakis, Magdalena Crăciun, Roger Canals, Cristina Rocha, Khyati Tripathi, Dafne Accoroni and George Wu Bayuga
Bielo, James, Materializing the Bible. Digital project. http://www.materializingthebible.com.
Casselberry, Judith, The Labor of Faith: Gender and Power in Black Apostolic Pentecostalism, 240 pp., notes, index. Durham, NC : Duke University Press, 2017. Paperback, $25.95. ISBN 9780822369035.
Clark, Emily Suzanne, A Luminous Brotherhood: Afro-Creole Spiritualism in Nineteenth-Century New Orleans, 280 pp., notes, index. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2016. Hardback, $34.95. ISBN 9781469628783.
Cowan, Douglas E., America´s Dark Theologian: The Religious Imagination of Stephen King, 272 pp., notes, index. New York: NYU Press, 2018. Hardback, $30.00. ISBN 9781479894734.
Darieva, Tsypylma, Florian Mühlfried, and Kevin Tuite, eds., Sacred Places, Emerging Spaces: Religious Pluralism in the Post-Soviet Caucasus, 246 pp., illustrations, bibliography, index. New York: Berghahn Books, 2018. Hardback, $90.00. IS BN 9781785337826.
Daswani, Girish, Looking Back, Moving Forward: Transformation and Ethical Practice in the Ghanaian Church of Pentecost, 280 pages, figures, notes, index. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2015. Paperback, $30.95. ISBN 9781442626584.
Giraldo Herrera, César E., Microbes and Other Shamanic Beings, 274 pp., index. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2018. Paperback, $99.99. ISBN 9783030100414.
Kaell, Hillary, ed., Everyday Sacred: Religion in Contemporary Quebec, 356 pp., figures, notes, index. Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2017. Hardback, $110.00. ISBN 9780773550940.
Kripal, Jeffrey J., Secret Body: Erotic and Esoteric Currents in the History of Religions, 448 pp., appendix, notes, index. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2017. Paperback, $35.00. ISBN 9780226679082.
Cabot, Zayin, Ecologies of Participation: Agents, Shamans, Mystics and Diviners, 352 pp., preface, index. London: Rowman & Littlefield, 2018. Hardback, $110.00. ISBN 9781498568159.
Lauterbach , Karen, Christianity, Wealth, and Spiritual Power in Ghana, 221 pp., appendix, index. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2017. Paperback, $119.99. ISBN 9783319815299.
Liberatore, Giulia, Somali, Muslim, British: Striving in Securitized Britain, 304 pp., figures, index. London: Bloomsbury, 2017. Paperback, $32.50. ISBN 9781350094628.
Mansur, Marcia, and Marina Thomé, dirs., The Sound of Bells (O Som dos Sinos), documentary film, Portuguese, 70 min. Estúdio Crua, 2016. $320.00. https://store.der.org/the-sound-ofbells-p1012.aspx.
Oosterbaan, Martijn, Transmitting the Spirit: Religious Conversion, Media, and Urban Violence, 264 pp., notes, bibliography, index. University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2017. Paperback, $39.95. ISBN 9780271078441.
Srinivas, Tulasi, The Cow in the Elevator: An Anthropology of Wonder, 296 pp., notes, references, index. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2018. Paperback, $26.95. ISBN 9780822370796.
Taneja, Anand Vivek, Jinnealogy: Time, Islam and Ecological Thought in the Medieval Ruins of Delhi, 336 pp., illustrations, notes, references, index. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2018. Paperback, $30.00. ISBN 9781503603936.
Wilcox, Melissa M., Queer Nuns: Religion, Activism, and Serious Parody, 336 pp., notes, bibliography, index. New York: NYU Press, 2018. Paperback, $30.00. ISBN 9781479820368.
Resources and Socio-cosmic Fields in Odisha, India
In light of this understanding, one important anthropological task becomes that of exploring diverse societies and the ideologies they harbor to begin to document the various configurations of monism and pluralism that actually exist in the world
Between Religion, Regulation, and Globalization
Mortensen , and René D. Pedersen . 2012 . “ Religious Diversity and Pluralism: Empirical Data and Theoretical Reflections from the Danish Pluralism Project .” Journal of Contemporary Religion 27 ( 3 ): 403 – 418 . Bear , Laura . 2013 . “ The
So What Is the Anthropology of Buddhism About?
David N. Gellner
traditions of Hinduism as practiced (Gellner, forthcoming). But what does anthropological contrariness mean in the case of Buddhism? As Lewis (2014: 1) recently reminded us, the pluralism of all religion in practice is “especially true in the case of