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Ecological approaches to the study of religion

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image of Method & Theory in the Study of Religion

This article is an attempt to describe and assess recent appeals to ecology for the purpose of explaining and understanding religious beliefs and practices. These appeals are divided into two kinds, those which trace out mono-directional causation and those which display functional relationships with feedback loops. The latter approach is found to be far more helpful and revealing, though some of the examples considered here lack quantitative precision or convincing empirical support. Examination of ecological explanations should help us to appreciate the value of having a variety of explanatory techniques.

Affiliations: 1: University of Tennessee,Chattanooga


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