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Researching the Dominant Religion: Anthropology at Home and Methodological Catholicism

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image of Method & Theory in the Study of Religion

Abstract The article discusses methodological problems of researching the dominant religion by native anthropologists in a majority Catholic society. By presenting both ethnographic examples and scholarly publications on religion we point at a Catholic hegemonic frame in Poland, within which religion is interpreted. Such an approach results in treating Catholicism as the taken for granted denomination, and the Roman Catholic Church as a bearer of moral authority. Engaging critically with the existing scholarship we argue that in Poland one can speak of methodological Catholicism, connected to certain implicit assumptions: treating Catholic faith as a desirable norm, describing religiosity at large with Catholic vocabulary and measuring religiosity through the prism of the Church dogmas as opposed to inquiring about the ways Catholicism is lived as a religion.

Affiliations: 1: Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology Advokatenweg 36, 06114 Halle Germany ; 2: Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology Advokatenweg 36, 06114 Halle Germany


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