Elsewhere: seeking alternatives to European understandings of “religion”

Problems in defining and studying religion are well known to us. What we might identify as a specific European legacy, now exported globally, could be more radically challenged by concerted efforts to respond to alternatives more positively and more robustly. This article identifies some problems fo...

Full description

Saved in:
Bibliographic Details
Published in:Diskus
Main Author: Harvey, Graham 1959-
Format: Electronic Article
Language:English
Check availability: HBZ Gateway
Journals Online & Print:
Drawer...
Published: [2014]
In:Diskus
Year: 2014, Volume: 16, Issue: 3, Pages: 57-68
Online Access: Volltext (Kostenfrei)
doi
Description
Summary:Problems in defining and studying religion are well known to us. What we might identify as a specific European legacy, now exported globally, could be more radically challenged by concerted efforts to respond to alternatives more positively and more robustly. This article identifies some problems for the study of religions: not only an inherited definition that privatises religion as “belief” but also a theological legacy that encourages scholarly ambitions to divine objectivity. In setting out alternatives, I propose that starting “elsewhere” will be helpful. Studies of material, performative, vernacular and lived religion establish some rich possibilities. A reconsideration of Maori tapu /taboo protocols may demonstrate the value of re-theorising “religion” beginning “elsewhere” than the still normative refrain of “belief and practice” encourages. In order to more radically indicate the problems of dominant scholarly approaches (rather than solely definitional issues) I say a little about “witchery” in South Africa and the difficulties of knowing how to respond as a scholar of religion. My argument is that we must change our approaches because we have changed our definitions.
ISSN:0967-8948
Contains:Enthalten in: Diskus
Persistent identifiers:DOI: 10.18792/diskus.v16i3.54