The Relational Dynamics of Enchantment and Sacralization - Changing the Terms of the Religion Versus Secularity Debate - Peik Ingman

The Relational Dynamics of Enchantment and Sacralization - Changing the Terms of the Religion Versus Secularity Debate - Peik Ingman

11. From Religion to Ordering Uncertainty: A Lesson from Dancers

The Relational Dynamics of Enchantment and Sacralization - Changing the Terms of the Religion Versus Secularity Debate - Peik Ingman

Milan Fujda [+-]
Masaryk University, Brno
Milan Fujda is assistant professor at the department for the study of religion at Masaryk University, Brno. Formerly interested in an acculturation of Indian spiritual practices in Europe he has turned to studies of ordinary (organizing) practices under the influence of ethnomethodology and ANT. At present he studies how unpredictable and complex situations are handled. His ethnography of contemporary dance improvisation is the first project after his methodological and thematic shift. It opened to him the way to locate questions concerning social meaning and the significance of allegedly irrational aspects of human life in a theoretical framework defined by practical pragmatism rather than by concepts of modernization, secularization, and religion. He is the author of the following books: Akulturace hinduismu a formování moderní religiozity: K sociálním dějinám českého okultismu 1891–1941 (The Acculturation of Hinduism and Forming of Modern Religiosity: The Social History of Czech Occultism 1891–1941) and Oddaní Kršny. Hnutí Haré Kršna v pohledu sociálních věd (The Krishna Bhaktas: The Hare Krishna Movement in the Perspective of Social Sciences, together with Dušan Lužný).

Description

The current chapter is based on an ethnography of dance improvisation. It analyses instances of handling unpredictability and fragility in ordinary life. It shows that such situations are common and that people are well-skilled in dealing with them without recourse to the idea of a clearly defined order. While the imperatives of modernity seem to lead to a preference for clear orders and calculable means, people in ordinary practice handle disorders arising from unpredictability and complexity by developing and mixing strategies which acknowledge the lack of order. It seems that no practical distinction arises between modern and non-modern people in this case. Furthermore, due to the human tendency to mix various “rational” and “irrational” strategies to overcome unpredictable and fragile situations, the theoretical notion of separated spheres of “secular” and “religious” also loses any practical relevance. Managing chronic illness and pain with its demand for traversing evidence-based medical practices, traditional science, magic, prayer, and so forth in order to gain control over a patient’s situation is a key example of this. The point of the chapter is fourfold: 1) analysing such situations leads the study of religion(s) beyond such binaries as “religious” and “secular”, or “traditional” and “modern”; 2) it moves the study from marginal, exotic themes towards the core issues of human behaviour in culture and society; 3) it helps the study grasp the meaning and significance of what once used to be called “religion” with a practical relevance for actual human (inter)action(s); and 4) it thus helps the discipline to stop being “the marginal discipline of the margins, picking up the crumbs that fall from the other disciplines’ banquet table”, as Bruno Latour once said about anthropology, and to begin to address the important issues of life of societies and cultures.

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Citation

Fujda, Milan. 11. From Religion to Ordering Uncertainty: A Lesson from Dancers. The Relational Dynamics of Enchantment and Sacralization - Changing the Terms of the Religion Versus Secularity Debate. Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom. p. 189-206 Dec 2016. ISBN 9781781794753. https://www.equinoxpub.com/home/view-chapter/?id=30134. Date accessed: 23 Nov 2017 doi: 10.1558/equinox.30134. Dec 2016

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