11. What’s New is Old Again: The Αναπαλαίωση of Tradition
Claiming Identity in the Study of Religion - Social and Rhetorical Techniques Examined - Monica R. Miller
Vaia Touna [+]
University of Alabama
Vaia Touna looks to and uses the data of a small village in Central Macedonia, Greece to introduce Russell T. McCutcheon’s “The Resiliency of Conceptual Anachronisms: On the Limits of “the West” and “Religion” wherein this essay and Touna’s introduction engage seemingly distinct data sets to suggest that scholars, and their use of tradition, rely on and make possible various authorizing acts. Looking to two villages—one that closes at night and where pretty much no one really lives — Touna suggests “that we may now begin to understand about claims of tradition” work and furthermore, how strategic social actors construct their representations of the past to suit their present social, economic, political needs. That is, how they authorize their present by linking it to a past that suits these practical interests. Tradition is not a thing unto itself, but a notion offered through reification and manipulations of time, and uncritical, unreflexive, anachronistic uses of methodologies inherited from disciplinary silos.