Cookies Policy
X

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

I accept this policy

Find out more here

Challenging Definitions: Human Agency, Diverse Religious Practices and the Problems of Boundaries

No metrics data to plot.
The attempt to load metrics for this article has failed.
The attempt to plot a graph for these metrics has failed.
The full text of this article is not currently available.

Brill’s MyBook program is exclusively available on BrillOnline Books and Journals. Students and scholars affiliated with an institution that has purchased a Brill E-Book on the BrillOnline platform automatically have access to the MyBook option for the title(s) acquired by the Library. Brill MyBook is a print-on-demand paperback copy which is sold at a favorably uniform low price.

Access this article

+ Tax (if applicable)
Add to Favorites

image of Numen

Much contemporary scholarship in Religious Studies emphasizes communities who contest the standard definitions of their religion. However, religious labels and terms such as syncretism often implicitly validate the dominant definitions that identify these diverse practices as peripheral. This essay explores the challenges that the dominant definitions present to such communities and suggests an emphasis on agency and the contestation surrounding any definition of a religion to avoid privileging one definition of a religion and, thereby, to facilitate a more balanced analysis. The example of Sindhi Hindus illustrates the value of this emphasis on agency. Sindhi Hindu communities and individuals construct and defend their own definitions of religions in environments where non-Sindhis challenge Sindhi practices, which do not necessarily correspond exactly to the definitions that the Sindhis construct for themselves. Adding Bell's conception of ritual inscription to this discussion of agency further highlights how participation in practices commonly associated with different religions can foster internal tensions. Therefore, an emphasis on agency with its complexity and limitations enables scholars to recognize the internal pressures that exist in some constructions of religious practices without contributing to the external challenge from dominant definitions. This approach also enables a more nuanced analysis of processes of syncretism that are more complex than traditional applications of that term allow.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Religious Studies, 212 Manly Hall, P.O. Box 870264, University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL 35487–0264, USA

Loading

Full text loading...

/content/journals/10.1163/156852707x171361
Loading

Data & Media loading...

http://brill.metastore.ingenta.com/content/journals/10.1163/156852707x171361
Loading

Article metrics loading...

/content/journals/10.1163/156852707x171361
2007-01-01
2016-09-25

Sign-in

Can't access your account?
  • Key

  • Full access
  • Open Access
  • Partial/No accessInformation