Epilogue: Studying Religion in Context - Diversity and Commonalities in Approaches

Religion as Relation - Studying Religion in Context - Peter Berger

Peter Berger [+-]
University of Groningen
Peter Berger (PhD 2004, FU Berlin) is Associate Professor of Indian Religions and the Anthropology of Religion at the University of Groningen. His areas of interest include the anthropology of religion, indigenous religions (esp. in India), theory and history of anthropology and the anthropology of India. His books include Feeding, Sharing and Devouring: Ritual and Society in Highland Odisha, India (De Gruyter, 2015), and he coedited Godroads: Modalities of Conversion in India (Cambridge UP, 2020), Ultimate Ambiguities: Investigating Death and Liminality (Berghahn, 2016), The Modern Anthropology of India (Routledge, 2013) and The Anthropology of Values (Pearson, 2010).
Marjo Buitelaar [+-]
University of Groningen
Marjo Buitelaar is Professor of Contemporary Islam from an anthropological perspective at the University of Groningen. Her research interests concern Islam in everyday life and narrative identity construction in a post-migration context. Buitelaar is presently programme-leader of a research project on 'Modern Articulations of Pilgrimage to Mecca' (NWO grant 360-25-150). Her most recent co-edited books in English are Religious Voices in Self-Narratives (2013); Hajj, Global Interactions through Pilgrimage (2015); and Muslim Women’s Pilgrimage to Mecca and Beyond. Reconfiguring gender, religion and mobility (2020).
Kim Knibbe [+-]
University of Groningen
Kim Knibbe is Associate Professor Anthropology and Sociology of Religion at Groningen University. She is currently directing the project "Sexuality, Religion and Secularism" with Rachel Spronk (funded by NWO). Previous research focused on Catholicism and spirituality in the Netherlands and on Nigerian Pentecostalism in Europe and the Netherlands. She has also published a series of theoretical and methodological reflections on studying religion. Her most recent co-edited books and special issues are Secular Societies, Spiritual Selves? (with Anna Fedele, 2020) and ‘Theorizing Lived Religion’ (with Helena Kupari, Journal of Contemporary Religion, 2020).


The book is intended for undergraduate students in religious studies and anyone else interested in the study of religion. It differs from most other introductions and handbooks in that it draws on ongoing research to show ‘how’ researchers approach their topics, thus providing orientation in a multidisciplinary context without attempting to homogenize the field.  Religion is studied from a multitude of approaches and methodologies, also represented in this volume: history, anthropology, philosophy, sociology, psychology and the academic study of religion. The introduction therefore focuses on providing students with an overview of the issues that are at stake in choosing an approach to studying religion in a multidisciplinary context: how one can learn to recognize how scholars conceptualize and delineate the object of study, what theory is, to recognize on what level of analysis research may take place, and the ‘problem of belief’ in the study of religion. The author of each chapter discusses material from their own research to demonstrate the approach and methodology they apply to produce and analyse the material they work with. This allows students to orient themselves with regard to the various methodologies and perspectives that they can deploy to formulate and answer their own research questions. 

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Berger, Peter; Buitelaar, Marjo ; Knibbe, Kim. Epilogue: Studying Religion in Context - Diversity and Commonalities in Approaches. Religion as Relation - Studying Religion in Context. Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom. Oct 2021. ISBN 9781800500709. https://www.equinoxpub.com/home/view-chapter/?id=42564. Date accessed: 27 Feb 2021 doi: 10.1558/equinox.42564. Oct 2021

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