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Religious identity in comparative research

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Chapter Summary

This chapter seeks to answer two questions: what does the religious identity of individuals and communities entail, and how can we research it? The concept of religious identity entails two terms: religion and identity. In this chapter religion refers to individuals and communities dealing with the dialectical relation between autonomy and contingency, especially in existentially meaningful situations and experiences, in the perspective of transcendence. Identity refers to the dialectic relation between same and other. Same in religious identity is expressed in permanence in time and other in the relation between identity and alterity. The chapter analyses the relation in comparative research on religious identity between, on the one hand, two methods, qualitative method and quantitative method, and, on the other hand, two perspectives, insider and outsider.

Keywords: comparative research; dialectical relation; insider perspective; outsider perspective; qualitative method; quantitative method; religious identity



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