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Apparitions and Apparatuses: On the Framing and Staging of Religious Events

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image of Method & Theory in the Study of Religion

Abstract Two assumptions associated with the burgeoning field of cultural studies—the indeterminacy of meaning and the strategic play of power determining the limits of knowledge—are often prescribed as antidotes to the delusions of religion and scientific realism. We need not wholeheartedly subscribe to this epistemic relativism to acknowledge that similar assumptions could also apply to situations that are overtly framed and staged within culture so as to invite momentary participation. Despite the occasional insistence on unconditional faith and adherence, this seems especially true of religious behaviour. In demonstrating how such assumptions can be productively redescribed as focal concerns of religious participation, this paper endeavors to remove religion from some of the dichotomous sets (e.g., belief/disbelief, rationality/irrationality, obligation/freedom, agency/chance) in which it often gets entangled.

Affiliations: 1: Department for the History of Religions, Stockholm University SE-10691 Stockholm, Stockholm University, Sweden


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