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Antagonistic Insights

Evolving Soviet Atheist Critiques of Religion and Why They Matter for Anthropology

Sonja Luehrmann

This article offers a critique of the common notion in contemporary anthropology that a positive attitude toward the people under study is a necessary precondition for a sophisticated understanding of their social world. The empirical sociology of religion that evolved during the last decades of the Soviet Union's existence started from the premise that religion was a harmful phenomenon slated for disappearance. Nonetheless, atheist sociologists produced increasingly complex accounts of religious life in modern socialist societies. Their ideological framework simultaneously constrained Soviet scholars and forced them to pay closer attention to religious phenomena that contradicted political expectations. Drawing on this extreme example of militant atheist scholarship, I argue that studying 'repugnant cultural others' always requires some form of affective motivation. Antagonism can be as powerful, and as problematic, a motivating force as empathetic suspension of judgment.

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God Does Not Play Dice with the Universe, or Does He?

Anthropological Interlocutions of Sport and Religion

Thomas F. Carter

Religion has been a central object of anthropological inquiry since its earliest days. In contrast, sport has remained an ancillary object of interest at best. Nonetheless, anthropologists have written some provocative analyses that challenge other disciplinary approaches to sport. Principally, those analyses emerged out of anthropological approaches to religion. Concerned with the ways in which anthropology theorizes and analyzes both religion and sport, this article begins by assessing the modern-day myth that 'sport is a religion'. It then compares subject-specific approaches to the relationships between sport and religion. The article then moves to the anthropological focus on ritual as it developed in the study of religion and how those ideas were then applied to analyses of sport. The article concludes with an examination of how the anthropology of sport has moved beyond those initial efforts before discussing various anthropological approaches to sport and religion.

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Beyond the Glittering Golden Buddha Statues

Difference and Self-transformation through Buddhist Volunteer Tourism in Thailand

Brooke Schedneck

Volunteer tourism is becoming an important way to understand and experience culture. In Thailand, one option for volunteers is to teach English to novice monks in Buddhist temple schools. These volunteers choose to live in a Buddhist temple in order to experience difference through the religious atmosphere and interact with Buddhist monks. The aesthetic environment is unique and awe-inspiring to this group. However, through interviews and analysis of travel writing, this article argues that the unexpected also has a role in generating selftransformation. Beyond the golden, glittering Buddha statues are Buddhist novice monks who become not just representatives of Thai culture but particular individuals. Volunteers discuss their own transformation as a result of both the expected difference and unexpected familiarity they encounter within the temple communities where they teach.

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Stacy M. K. George

collective behavior. Olson (2011) emphasizes the value of social movement approaches to the study of religion and politics. She argues that theories stemming from both social movement scholarship and religious studies have an ability to “elucidate the

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Muslim Pilgrims at the Orthodox Christian Monastery in Hadzhidimovo

Studies on Religious Anti-syncretism in the Western Rhodopes, Bulgaria

Magdalena Lubanska

This essay questions the thesis of the supposed syncretic nature of the religion of Bulgarian-speaking Muslims, an idea still espoused in Bulgarian ethnography and popular among the Rhodope Christian population. It examines the Muslim motivations for attending Christian holy places in the Rhodopes, particularly the Monastery of St George in Hadzhidimovo, to gather evidence from the actual participants. It shows that the local Muslims and Christians offer incompatible interpretations of the Muslim practice. Furthermore, it takes into account Muslim and Christian testimonies on how Muslims behave in the monastery of St George, and how their gestures are interpreted by both groups. Although the Muslim narratives betray a rather anti-syncretic attitude to Christianity, the Christians sometimes tend to see them as actual crypto-Christians. In my conclusions I stake out a position in the recent polemic between Glenn Bowman and Robert Hayden concerning the specificity of interactions between dissenters at sacred shrines.

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Introduction

Doing Ritual While Thinking about It?

Emma Gobin

-’liturgical’ discourse is necessarily incidental to ritual action. In particular, and in line with the initial idea of this special section, their original case studies allow them to point out the neglected fact that in several religious or cultural contexts

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Tsvetana Boncheva

The article deals with the institution of ‘village nuns’, a form of religious celibacy among Bulgarian Catholics in the Plovdiv region during the first half of the twentieth century. The primary concern of this article is the structuring and functioning of the institution of village nuns, viewed from the perspective of the fractal dichotomy strategy–tactics, belonging to the paradigm of fractal dichotomies including religious culture–traditional culture, clergy/male celibacy-–nuns/female celibacy, masculinity–femininity. The sources used in the research are of different types: census registers, parochial books, civil registers of births and deaths, household registers, property tax registers, various publications of the Catholic Church in Bulgaria, and ethnographic field material collected by the author. The methodology employed combines various qualitative methods: the gatekeeper and snowball methods, structured and semi-structured interviews, the biographical method and the comparative method. The analysis shows that the nuns’ institution can be treated as a turning point at which female tactics turn into strategies and bring about certain power shifts affecting gender relations.

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Jens Kreinath and Refika Sariönder

Glaubensgemeinschaft in Anatolien [The Kizilba^/Alevis: Studies on an esoteric religious community in Anatolia]. Berlin : Klaus Schwarz . Köpping , Klaus–Peter . 1997 . “ Introduction: The Ludic as Creative Disorder: Framing, De–framing and Boundary Crossing .” In

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“Ashgate Studies in Pilgrimage” Series

New Book Series: “Religious Engagement in Democratic Politics”

Website for New Books in Religion

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New Book Series: “Class 200: New Studies in Religion”

Merged Book Series: Routledge Studies in Pilgrimage, Religious Travel and Tourism

PentecoStudies: A Journal on the Pentecostal and Charismatic Movements