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On Atheism and Non-religion

An Afterword

Matthew Engelke

We all have our conceptual bugbears, terms which, as anthropologists, cause us trouble. Over the past couple of years, an increasing number of anthropologists working in the anthropology of religion have had to face some newly prominent ones: atheism, godlessness, and (worst of all) non-religion.

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Godless People and Dead Bodies

Materiality and the Morality of Atheist Materialism

Jacob Copeman and Johannes Quack

Atheists are not the only people who donate their bodies, yet the practice is strikingly prevalent in a variety of atheist circles. We concentrate here on the Indian case, exploring body donation as a key instance of the material culture of atheism. Recent efforts to reinvigorate study of the material culture of religion are to be welcomed, but they should be extended to non-religion in order to address the irony that sees scholars representing materialism as an abstract doctrine and, hence, as immaterial. Body donation holds value for Indian atheists as a bridge between 'positive' and 'negative' modes of atheist thought and action. It also provides a ready-made solution for atheist activists keen to circumvent the cadaver-centered death rituals they find so redundant.

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Introduction

Godless People, Doubt, and Atheism

Ruy Llera Blanes and Galina Oustinova-Stjepanovic

In the introduction to this special issue, we set the agenda for researching the aspirations and practices of godless people who seek to thin out religion in their daily lives. We reflect on why processes of disengagement from religion have not been adequately researched in anthropology. Locating this issue's articles in the anthropological literature on doubt and atheism, we argue for the importance of a comparative investigation to analyze people's reluctance to pursue religion.

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Working in Between

Interdisciplinary and Multivalent Approaches to the Study of Religion

Hillary Kaell

territory that I have encountered since, including the (even more) deconstructive project of embracing secularism and non-religion within religious studies, which bears upon my current work. Discipline My academic training has proceeded in a messy

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News

The Immanent Frame

Max-Planck-Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity Afterlife Research Centre

The Non-religion and Secularity Research Network

Teaching Religion in the Social Sciences

Network of Anthropology of Religion

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Reviews

Javier Jiménez-Royo, Josh Bullock, Maïa Guillot, Caleb Carter, Evgenia Fotiou, Anna Clot-Garrell, Essi Mäkelä, Andrés Felipe Agudelo, Diana Espírito Santo, Kristina Wirtz, Joana Martins, Jon Bialecki, Joel Robbins, Richard Baxstrom, and Victor Roudometof

-Royo Independent Researcher Reference Anderson , Allan Heaton . 2014 . An Introduction to Pentecostalism: Global Charismatic Christianity . 2nd ed. New York : Cambridge University Press . COTTER, Christopher R., The Critical Study of Non-Religion

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Ambivalent Atheist Identities

Power and Non-religious Culture in Contemporary Britain

Lois Lee

In Britain, most non-theists and atheists do not identify themselves as such in explicit terms, yet non-theistic cultural threads are interwoven through everyday discourses. This article calls for more extensive ethnographic engagement with these more diffuse—and therefore less visible and less commonly researched—forms of non-religious culture. Based on exploratory fieldwork conducted in South East England, it draws attention to one set of these indistinct non-religious forms: 'authentic' and 'inauthentic' ambivalent atheist and non-religious self-understandings and self-representations. It demonstrates how these identities may be subjectively meaningful and culturally significant and how they may be simultaneously empowering and disempowering. Scrutiny of ambivalent atheist identities points to complicated dynamics between non-religion and power and the value of attending to poorly or unmarked non-religious cultures through ethnographic work.

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Around Abby Day’s Believing in Belonging

Belief and Social Identity in the Modern World

Christopher R. Cotter, Grace Davie, James A. Beckford, Saliha Chattoo, Mia Lövheim, Manuel A. Vásquez, and Abby Day

am going to restrict my comments to two brief points. The first concerns the connections that I can see between Believing in Belonging and the growing body of research into ‘non-religion’. The second includes some reflections on the place of Abby

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How to Conceptualize an Introductory Course on the Academic Study of Religion

Systematic Reflections and Exemplary Answers

Johannes Quack

, and Non-religion: Is religion losing importance? What would come after religion? 12. Cognition, Evolution, and Psychology—Again (see week 2): What is religion? Do all humans have religion? 13. Students attend a religious event (instead of reading a

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Book Reviews

Jack Hunter, Annelin Eriksen, Jon Mitchell, Mattijs van de Port, Magnus Course, Nicolás Panotto, Ruth Barcan, David M. R. Orr, Girish Daswani, Piergiorgio Di Giminiani, Pirjo Kristiina Virtanen, Sofía Ugarte, Ryan J. Cook, Bettina E. Schmidt, and Mylene Mizrahi

OUSTINOVA-STJEPANOVIC, eds., Being Godless: Ethnographies of Atheism and Non-Religion , 154 pp., afterword, notes, references, index. New York: Berghahn Books, 2017. Paperback, $27.95. ISBN 9781785335730. As Matthew Engelke points out in his afterword to