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Doing fieldwork in religious arena. Epistemological challenges for ethnographic participation 
Marta Pons Raga (University of Barcelona)
Yaniela Morales (Cuban Institute of Anthropology)
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Kali Argyriadis (Institut de recherche pour le développement)
Thursday 18 July, -, -
Time zone: Europe/Madrid
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Short Abstract:

This panel aims to discuss what and how knowledge is produced through ethnographic participation in the religious field. Taking a critical view of the standard fieldwork, we intend to propose multiple perspectives to reflect on the supposed epistemological boundary between "science" and "religion"

Long Abstract:

Approaching other people ethnographically, especially when they are involved in the spiritual realm, is an undeniable epistemological challenge. The prevailing science and secularism in Europe today force us to conceive of spiritual worlds as intangible and, consequently, as belonging to scenarios of abstraction, rationality and intellect.

This starting premise is particularly relevant for reflecting on ethnographic ontology, since, as Pierini and Groisman (2016) note, the religious field is strongly affected by the legacy of the academic activism of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries in which the secularist logic of separating "science" from "religion" is defended, hierarchising both spheres and establishing the former as the only legitimate system of evidence (Asad 2003; 2018; Keane 2003; 2008).

From a critical position to this ethnographic work, we conceive the ethnographer as another agent in the field who creates, constructs and is affected by the research in which he or she participates and analyses. Therefore, the main purpose of this panel is to discuss what knowledge is produced and how it is produced through participation in the religious field.

In order to achieve this goal, we intend to approach this reflexion from a wide range of perspectives. We are interested in addressing scientific research in the field of religion also from those researchers who self-identify with religious practice, making more complex the analysis of full participation (Halloy 2016). Thus, we are interested in exploring some concepts that we consider central to tackle this issue, such as reflexive ethnography, affective distance, objectivity or ethnopsychology.

Accepted papers:

Session 1 Thursday 18 July, 2024, -
Session 2 Thursday 18 July, 2024, -