Cookies Policy

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

Playing Language Games and Performing Rituals: Religious Studies as Ideological State Apparatus

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
You must be logged in to use this functionality

image of Method & Theory in the Study of Religion

The Wittgensteinian philosophy of language games in the service of "religion" is circular and closed from criticism, and this generates the illusion that "religion" is compellingly universal. Also some historians, while attempting to uncover the specific and localized origins of the modern category "religion" in early modern Europe, simultaneously and unwittingly reconstruct the assumed universality of the category by uncritically using the problematized word in a description of societies in which the modern category, according to their own research findings, did not yet exist. These techniques suggest an unacknowledged ideological field lying behind the usages of the category. I argue that "religion" is one of a pair, the other half being "non-religion" or "the secular". The formation of the modern notion of religion needs to be seen initially in relation to privatized Protestant piety and the separation of church and state, whereby an apparently demystified human nature and fully rational modern civil society was made possible. But the application of the religion-secular distinction to an increasing number of colonies has resulted in "religion" becoming a catch-all container for indigenous institutions and practices that impede progress (i.e., impede realization of secular rationality by the natives). Debates about the logic of the religion-secular category can only become fruitful when we analyze the way in which they each construct their other half. However, the way "religion" is institutionalized and investigated in the academy elides its function in the invention and legitimation of the modern Euro-American secular, for it is treated as though it stands alone, either as a category in its own right or as a natural reality corresponding to that category.


Full text loading...


Data & Media loading...

Article metrics loading...



Can't access your account?
  • Tools

  • Add to Favorites
  • Printable version
  • Email this page
  • Subscribe to ToC alert
  • Get permissions
  • Recommend to your library

    You must fill out fields marked with: *

    Librarian details
    Your details
    Why are you recommending this title?
    Select reason:
    Method & Theory in the Study of Religion — Recommend this title to your library
  • Export citations
  • Key

  • Full access
  • Open Access
  • Partial/No accessInformation