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Religion, Post-Religionism, and Religioning: Religious Studies and Contemporary Cultural Debates1

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image of Method & Theory in the Study of Religion

The interaction between the contemporary study of religion and contemporary cultural debates has tended to be marked by indifference, and there have been relatively few attempts to engage with the discourses of postmodern theory. In this paper I examine some of the ways in which recent anthropologists have sought to question some of their basic disciplinary assumptions with regard to the 'culture concept', particularly by putting forward strategies of 'writing against culture' or by writing culture in more dynamic terms (as cultural or culturing). This insight, which is relevant in itself to the contemporary study of religion, can be extended to a re-evaluation of the 'religion' concept, which I suggest could be reconstructed in terms of practice theory as religious practice or religioning. In conclusion I argue that to maintain its relevance within the broad field of contemporary humanities scholarship, the discipline of religious studies needs to aligrt itself more clearly (theoretically and methodologically) with the dynamic interface between the approaches of cultural anthropology, cultural theory, and other postmodern' theoretical discourses.

Affiliations: 1: University of Stirling


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