FORUM FOR ANTHROPOLOGY AND CULTURE

ANTROPOLOGICHESKIJ FORUM
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Forum for Anthropology and Culture, 2017, no. 13

 

FORUM 34–35: RELIGION, ANTHROPOLOGY, AND THE ‘ANTHROPOLOGY OF RELIGION’

Abstract: This discussion concerns certain important issues in the anthropology of religion. In recent decades, there have been claims in the social sciences that ‘religion’ has outlived its usefulness as a concept, with criticism coming from a range of disciplines. Thus it is reasonable to ask how significant and intellectually credible the term ‘religion’ may be, and how useful to our research and writing. Other questions that may be encountered when studying religion(s) are related to the confessional or non-confessional identities of researchers. In the anthropology of religion, there is particularly extensive attention paid to the personal standpoint of individual scholars and specifically to the extent of their involvement with a given religious tradition. On the other hand, among the specificities of religious fieldwork is the high degree of ‘agency’ of our informants, as expressed especially in the efforts made in a particular religious group to convert the observer to their own beliefs. The participants of the discussion accept the challenges of these difficult problems, and strive to analyze the processes of anthropological and sociological description and interpretation of religion(s).

Keywords: anthropology of religion, ethics of fieldwork, religious conversion, epistemology, critiques of the scholarly category of religion, politics of identity.

To cite: ‘Forum 34–35: Religion, Anthropology, and the “Anthropology of Religion”’, Forum for Anthropology and Culture, 2017, no. 13, pp. 11–137.