Through a comparative study of the life histories of individuals who have undergone a religious change (conversion, revivalism, etc.), we shall explore how, across religions, they rethink, readjust and reinterpret their religious conceptions and practices in accordance with the society they live in
Religious change is often analyzed through the prism of factors that may induce it, such as economic and political transformations, identity constructions and so on. Without denying the importance of these factors, we intend to examine here religious change from an emic perspective, taking into consideration the point of view of individuals and their understanding of these evolutions set back into their life histories. Subaltern studies have already insisted on the importance of giving back their agency to actors but most studies have mainly focused on the political field; here, we shall extend the approach to the religious field which has been much less explored. For that purpose, we will mobilize the concept of reflexivity, defined here as the intellectual approach whereby the actors by putting their practices and conceptions at a distance, gives themselves the means to have a space for reflection, assessment, and even for doubt and calling into question. Through a comparative study of the life histories of individuals who have undergone a religious change (through conversion, revivalism, etc.), we shall explore here how, across religions, these individuals rethink, readjust and reinterpret their religious conceptions and practices in accordance with the society they live in. The South Asian context is particularly interesting for such an analysis given the great plurality of cases derived from the confrontation, the interaction and the competition between a plethora of traditions and practices, evolving all the more in a context of huge economic, social and political transformations throughout the region.