The Limits of Meaning

Author: Matthew Eric Engelke
Publisher: Berghahn Books
ISBN: 1845451708
Release Date: 2006
Genre: Religion

Too often, anthropological accounts of ritual leave readers with the impression that everything goes smoothly, that rituals are "meaningful events." But what happens when rituals fail, or when they seem "meaningless"? Drawing on research in the anthropology of Christianity from around the globe, the authors in this volume suggest that in order to analyze meaning productively, we need to consider its limits. This collection is a welcome new addition to the anthropology of religion, offering fresh debates on a classic topic and drawing attention to meaning in a way that other volumes have for key terms like "culture" and "fieldwork.

The Limits of Meaning

Author: Matthew Engelke
Publisher: Berghahn Books
ISBN: 184545507X
Release Date: 2007-10-01
Genre: Religion

Too often, anthropological accounts of ritual leave readers with the impression that everything goes smoothly, that rituals are "meaningful events." But what happens when rituals fail, or when they seem "meaningless"? Drawing on research in the anthropology of Christianity from around the globe, the authors in this volume suggest that in order to analyze meaning productively, we need to consider its limits. This collection is a welcome new addition to the anthropology of religion, offering fresh debates on a classic topic and drawing attention to meaning in a way that other volumes have for key terms like "culture" and "fieldwork.

Realness through Mediating Body

Author: Oleg Dik
Publisher: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht
ISBN: 9783847007197
Release Date: 2017-05-15
Genre: Religion

After the end of the civil war in 1990, the Charismatic/Pentecostal (C/P) movement in Beirut spread across various Christian denominations. C/P believers narrated how Jesus became real to them via the experience of the Holy Spirit. The author explains this impression of realness through embodiment. Ritual practices like testimony and experience of divine agency are experienced as fullness within a post war society and are extended into the every day sphere. This ethnographic account represents the beginning research of C/P Christianity’s emergence in the Middle East and its contribution to social change.

Christianity and the Limits of Materiality

Author: Minna Opas
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
ISBN: 9781474291774
Release Date: 2017-06-29
Genre: Religion

Despite the fact that Christianity is understood to be thoroughly intertwined with matter, objects, and things, Christians struggle to cope with this materiality in their daily lives. This volume argues that the ambivalent relationships many Christians have with materiality is a driving force that contributes to the way people in different Christian traditions and in different parts of the world understand and live out their religion. By placing the questions of limits and boundary-work to the fore, the volume addresses the question of exactly how Christianity takes place materially, addressing a gap in studies to date. Christianity and the Limits of Materiality presents ground-breaking research on the frameworks and contexts in relation to and within which Christian logics of materiality operate. The volume places the negotiations at the limits of materiality within the larger framework of Christian identities and politics of belonging. The chapters discuss case studies from North and South America, Europe, and Africa, and demonstrate that the limits preoccupying Christians delimit their lives but also enable many things. Ultimately, Christianity and the Limits of Materiality demonstrates that it is at the interfaces of materiality and the transcendent that Christians create and legitimise their religion.

The Empty Seashell

Author: Nils Bubandt
Publisher: Cornell University Press
ISBN: 9780801471964
Release Date: 2014-12-18
Genre: Social Science

The Empty Seashell explores what it is like to live in a world where cannibal witches are undeniably real, yet too ephemeral and contradictory to be an object of belief. In a book based on more than three years of fieldwork between 1991 and 2011, Nils Bubandt argues that cannibal witches for people in the coastal, and predominantly Christian, community of Buli in the Indonesian province of North Maluku are both corporeally real and fundamentally unknowable. Witches (known as gua in the Buli language or as suanggi in regional Malay) appear to be ordinary humans but sometimes, especially at night, they take other forms and attack people in order to kill them and eat their livers. They are seemingly everywhere and nowhere at the same time. The reality of gua, therefore, can never be pinned down. The title of the book comes from the empty nautilus shells that regularly drift ashore around Buli village. Convention has it that if you find a live nautilus, you are a gua. Like the empty shells, witchcraft always seems to recede from experience. Bubandt begins the book by recounting his own confusion and frustration in coming to terms with the contradictory and inaccessible nature of witchcraft realities in Buli. A detailed ethnography of the encompassing inaccessibility of Buli witchcraft leads him to the conclusion that much of the anthropological literature, which views witchcraft as a system of beliefs with genuine explanatory power, is off the mark. Witchcraft for the Buli people doesn't explain anything. In fact, it does the opposite: it confuses, obfuscates, and frustrates. Drawing upon Jacques Derrida’s concept of aporia—an interminable experience that remains continuously in doubt—Bubandt suggests the need to take seriously people’s experiential and epistemological doubts about witchcraft, and outlines, by extension, a novel way of thinking about witchcraft and its relation to modernity.

Anthropos

Author:
Publisher:
ISBN: NWU:35556039813183
Release Date: 2009
Genre: Ethnology


Religious and Ritual Change

Author: Pamela J. Stewart
Publisher:
ISBN: STANFORD:36105132252896
Release Date: 2009
Genre: Social Science

The topic of religious and ritual change, including conversion from one modality of practices to another, has emerged in recent years as a prime focus of scholarly attention in anthropology and related disciplines, such as history, sociology, political science and religious studies. Conversion to Christianity is one focus that has developed within this broad and dynamic field of investigations. This edited volume is a unique set of studies that explores this field further, with a doubly innovative approach. First, the chapters represent a collaboration of leading scholars from Taiwan and from the USA and Europe. Second, the studies involve a comparative dimension, juxtaposing work done among indigenous Austronesian minorities in Taiwan and work done in the Pacific Islands (Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands). Within this collection of essays, common processes of change are evident, while the importance of specific histories is revealed, and analytical and theoretical issues are probed and reviewed in ways that demonstrate their relevance to the overall dimensions of comparison. No other work in this arena of study has brought together scholars with such a comparative framework in mind. This volume is relevant for scholars and students of religious change generally, as well as those readers who are interested in the wider Asia-Pacific region, minority groups, Christianity, indigenous movements, and the socialization of the ritual body in contexts of historical and cosmological change.

Walking Where Jesus Walked

Author: Hillary Kaell
Publisher: NYU Press
ISBN: 9780814771747
Release Date: 2014-07-04
Genre: Religion

Since the 1950s, millions of American Christians have traveled to the Holy Land to visit places in Israel and the Palestinian territories associated with Jesus’s life and death. Why do these pilgrims choose to journey halfway around the world? How do they react to what they encounter, and how do they understand the trip upon return? This book places the answers to these questions into the context of broad historical trends, analyzing how the growth of mass-market evangelical and Catholic pilgrimage relates to changes in American Christian theology and culture over the last sixty years, including shifts in Jewish-Christian relations, the growth of small group spirituality, and the development of a Christian leisure industry. Drawing on five years of research with pilgrims before, during and after their trips, Walking Where Jesus Walked offers a lived religion approach that explores the trip’s hybrid nature for pilgrims themselves: both ordinary—tied to their everyday role as the family’s ritual specialists, and extraordinary—since they leave home in a dramatic way, often for the first time. Their experiences illuminate key tensions in contemporary US Christianity between material evidence and transcendent divinity, commoditization and religious authority, domestic relationships and global experience. Hillary Kaell crafts the first in-depth study of the cultural and religious significance of American Holy Land pilgrimage after 1948. The result sheds light on how Christian pilgrims, especially women, make sense of their experience in Israel-Palestine, offering an important complement to top-down approaches in studies of Christian Zionism and foreign policy.

The social life of Scriptures

Author: American Anthropological Association. Meeting
Publisher: Rutgers Univ Pr
ISBN: 0813546052
Release Date: 2009-09-15
Genre: Religion

What do Christians do with the Bible? How do they--individually and collectively--interact with the sacred texts? Why does this engagement shift so drastically among and between social, historical, religious, and institutional contexts? Such questions are addressed in a most enlightening, engaging, and original way in The Social Life of Scriptures. Contributors offer a collection of closely analyzed and carefully conducted ethnographic and historical case studies, covering a range of geographic, theological, and cultural territory, including: American evangelicals and charismatics; Jamaican Rastafarians; evangelical and Catholic Mayans; Northern Irish charismatics; Nigerian Anglicans; and Chinese evangelicals in the United States. The Social Life of Scripturesis the first book to present an eclectic, cross-cultural, and comparative investigation of Bible use. Moreover, it models an important movement to outline a framework for how scriptures are implicated in organizing social structures and meanings, with specific foci on gender, ethnicity, agency, and power.

Eastern Christians in Anthropological Perspective

Author: C. M. Hann
Publisher: Anthropology of Christianity
ISBN: UCSD:31822037496437
Release Date: 2010
Genre: Religion

Chiefly rev. papers from a conference held in Sept. 2005 at the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology.

In God s Image

Author: Matthew Akim Tomlinson
Publisher: University of California Press
ISBN: 0520257782
Release Date: 2009-03-10
Genre: Religion

Today, most indigenous Fijians are Christians, and the Methodist Church is the foundation of their social and political lives. Yet, as this thought-provoking study of life on rural Kadavu Island finds, Fijians also believe that their ancestors possessed an inherent strength that is lacking in the present day. Looking in particular at the interaction between the church and the traditional chiefly system, Matt Tomlinson finds that this belief about the superiority of the past provokes great anxiety, and that Fijians seek ways of recovering this strength through ritual and political action—Christianity itself simultaneously generates a sense of loss and the means of recuperation. To unravel the cultural dynamics of Christianity in Fiji, Tomlinson explores how this loss is expressed through everyday language and practices.

Religion Anthropology and Cognitive Science

Author: Harvey Whitehouse
Publisher:
ISBN: UOM:39015074080725
Release Date: 2007
Genre: Social Science

Part of the Ritual Studies Monograph Series, this book examines longstanding debates in the anthropology of religion concerning the connections between ritual and meaning, belief, politics, emotion, development, and gender. But it examines these old topics from a radically new perspective: that of the cognitive science of religion. As such the volume identifies potential solutions to established problems but it also sets out a program for future research in the field. The volume includes a substantial introduction from Harvey Whitehouse and James Laidlaw who highlight the connections between key issues in the history of religious anthropology and the latest findings of scientific psychology. This volume, they argue, presents us with potential solutions to old problems but also with a series of new and exciting challenges.

Potent Landscapes

Author: Catherine Allerton
Publisher: University of Hawaii Press
ISBN: UCBK:C097695494
Release Date: 2013
Genre: Social Science

This is an ethnographic investigation of the power of the landscape in eastern Indonesia and its implications for human needs, behavior, and emotions. The book describes the intense, personal connections between Manggarai individuals and certain places a

Resisting State Iconoclasm Among the Loma of Guinea

Author: Christian Kordt Højbjerg
Publisher:
ISBN: 1594602182
Release Date: 2007-01-01
Genre: Social Science

Part of the Ritual Studies Monograph Series Resisting State Iconoclasm Among the Loma of Guinea is an anthropological study of a West African people's ongoing commitment to a specific religious tradition that involves both secrecy and public ritual.Loma secret religious practice appears to have been relatively unaffected by a long-term suppression, including the exposure of secrecy, by the postcolonial authorities. In recent years the famous male ritual association known as Poro has even taken on new significance in the context of political upheaval in the war-torn border area between Guinea and Liberia. Drawing on extensive fieldwork and regional comparative research, the study not only provides a detailed account of hitherto unknown ritual practices in the Upper Guinea forest and coastal region. It also challenges recurring claims about the political role of secret societies in this part of West Africa.The retention of "tradition" in the face of "change" is of central analytical concern to Resisting State Iconoclasm. Against presentist accounts of persistent culture, Hjbjerg argues that an adequate explanation of Loma religious resilience requires a composite approach addressing both the political dynamics of the studied area and the cognitive and relational processes involved in the transmission of religious and ritual tradition. The result of this approach serves as background for a critical engagement with current theories of the successful, enduring distribution of cultural ideas and practices.