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On the Margins of Religion

Edited by Frances Pine and João de Pina-Cabral

296 pages, 12 illus., bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-84545-409-8 $135.00/£99.00 / Hb / Published (March 2008)

eISBN 978-0-85745-011-1 eBook


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The result, with an overarching focus on ‘modernity and its ambivalences’ is a well-written and insightful volume, which presents new and exciting ways of dealing with one of anthropology’s more ancient (but still essential) research topics.  ·  Social Anthropology/Anthropologie sociale

 “…an engaging contribution to the anthropology of religion…Overall, this volume is a treasure trove of inspiring ethnographies.  ·  JRAI

“Contributors to this volume stay very close to their data. They do not advance grand theories of religion.Nor do they limit themselves to the usual topics in anthropological studies like doctrine, faith, and ritual. Transcending the Durkheimian perspective (that understood religion in terms of collective rituals and morality), contributors instead focus on religion as a malleable and highly reflexive process. They advocate a ‘lateral’ (Needham), broadly comparative approach to the anthropological study of religion. Highly recommended.”  ·  Anthropos


Focusing on places, objects, bodies, narratives and ritual spaces where religion may be found or inscribed, the authors reveal the role of religion in contesting rights to places, to knowledge and to property, as well as access to resources. Through analyses of specific historical processes in terms of responses to socio-economic and political change, the chapters consider implicitly or explicitly the problematic relation between science (including social sciences and anthropology in particular) and religion, and how this connects to the new religious globalisation of the twenty-first century. Their ethnographies highlight the embodiment of religion and its location in landscapes, built spaces and religious sites which may be contested, physically or ideologically, or encased in memory and often in silence. Taken together, they show the importance of religion as a resource to the believers: a source of solace, spiritual comfort and self-willed submission.

Frances Pine was a research fellow at the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology in Halle, and a Professor at the Institute of Gender Research at the University of Bergen and is now at Goldsmiths University of London. She has conducted extensive fieldwork in Poland over the past 25 years. She is the co-editor of Surviving Post Socialism (Routledge 1998) and Memory, Politics and Religion: the Past Meets the Present in Europe (LIT 2004), and author of numerous articles on kinship, economy and gender, eastern Europe, history, place and memory.

João de Pina-Cabral is Research Coordinator at the Institute of Social Sciences of the University of Lisbon, where he has been the President of the Scientific Board for the past six years. He has carried out fieldwork and published extensively on Northwestern Portugal, Macau (south China) and Mozambique. His books in English include Sons of Adam, Daughters of Eve (Clarendon Press, Oxford), Between China and Europe (Continuum Books, LSE Monographs, London) and various co-edited volumes (JASO, Macmillan and Berg). He is presently the President of the European Association of Social Anthropologists.

Subject: Anthropology of ReligionTheory and Methodology


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