Taxonomy Construction and the Normative Turn in Religious Studies

Jonathan Z. Smith contends that a taxonomic agenda underlies the study of religion. Before Smith, structuralist scholars saw it as their task to uncover the roots of human taxonomic arrangements that present themselves as natural. Drawing somewhat anachronistically on Smith's taxonomic model, I...

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Bibliographic Details
Published in:Religions
Main Author: Cooper, Travis Warren
Format: Electronic Article
Language:English
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Published: [2017]
In:Religions
Year: 2017, Volume: 8, Issue: 12, Pages: 1-15
Further subjects:B social anthropology
B the study of religion
B Categories
B Taxonomy
B normativity and values
B Structuralism
B Jonathan Z. Smith
Online Access: Volltext (Verlag)
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Summary:Jonathan Z. Smith contends that a taxonomic agenda underlies the study of religion. Before Smith, structuralist scholars saw it as their task to uncover the roots of human taxonomic arrangements that present themselves as natural. Drawing somewhat anachronistically on Smith's taxonomic model, I argue that underlying investigative categories posed by structural anthropologists are operative strategies of subjective value and valuation. I employ Smith to amend structuralist classificatory paradigms and to speak to questions of normativity, values, and concealed agendas in the contemporary study of religion. Smith's comparative program serves as a fertile territory of encounter between divergent religious studies subfields. In short, I argue that although the normative turn in religious studies has generally succeeded in deconstructing appeals to scholarly objectivity, it faces challenges along other parameters.
ISSN:2077-1444
Contains:Enthalten in: Religions
Persistent identifiers:DOI: 10.3390/rel8120270