4. Redescribing Spirituality: The Strategic Use of the Solitary Identifier
Religion in Theory and Practice - Demystifying the Field for Burgeoning Scholars - Russell T. McCutcheon
Russell T. McCutcheon [+]
University of Alabama
Still implicit to much work carried out in the field is the longstanding assumption that religion is a personal, even ineffable disposition (variously known as belief, faith, feeling or experience) whose public expression is prone to misinterpretation and corruption. Seeing current discourses on spirituality (and thus people who claim to be “spiritual but not religious” [SBNR]) as but the most recent version of this common approach (both within and outside of the academy), this previously unpublished chapter attempts to theorize such claims, in a manner consistent with practicing the study of religion as a social theorist might. Using the work of the Protestant reformer, Jean Calvin, as a case study, it attempts to persuade readers that such discourses are a practical mode of social rhetoric, used to negotiate everyday issues of place and rank.