Anthropology Of Religious Conversion / Edition 256

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The Anthropology of Religious Conversion paints a picture of conversion far more complex than its customary image in anthropology and religious studies. Conversion is very seldom simply a sudden moment of insight or inspiration; it is a change both of individual consciousness and of social belonging, of mental attitude and of physical experience, whose unfolding depends both on its cultural setting and on the distinct individuals who undergo it. The book explores religious conversion in a variety of cultural settings and considers how anthropological approaches can help us understand the phenomenon. Fourteen case studies span historical and geographical contexts, including the contemporary United States, modern and medieval Europe, and non-western societies in South Asia, Melanesia, and South America. They discuss conversion to Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, Islam, and Spiritualism. Combining ethnographic description with theoretical analysis, authors consider the nature and meaning of conversion, its social and political dimensions, and its relationship to individual religious experience.

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Editorial Reviews

International Bulletin Of Missionary Research
This is a most welcome book. In it anthropologists, Christian and non-Christian, do deep, sympathetic studies of religious conversion, both individual and corporate, to Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, Spiritism, and Rastafarianism. The do what anthropologists do best—give us thick descriptions of conversion from the perspectives of converts themselves. . . In these penetrating studies, the authors show us by way of ethnographic detail the complex intertwining of personal, social, cultural, and spiritual factors that are involved.
Reviews in Anthropology
A good cross-section of the "new" anthropological writings on religious change. 2007
Journal Of Anthropological Research
A very interesting range of comparisons . . . . Succeeds admirably in its goal of offering nuanced ethnographies of conversion as a multileveled social process.
Journal of Anthropological Research
A very interesting range of comparisons . . . . Succeeds admirably in its goal of offering nuanced ethnographies of conversion as a multileveled social process.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780742517783
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
  • Publication date: 10/1/2003
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 256
  • Pages: 258
  • Product dimensions: 0.58 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 6.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Andrew Buckser is an assistant professor of anthropology at Purdue University. Stephen D. Glazier is a professor of anthropology at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln.

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Table of Contents

1 The Anthropology of Conversion: An Introduction 1
2 Continuous Conversion? The Rhetoric, Practice, and Rhetorical Practice of Charismatic Protestant Conversion 15
3 Agency, Bureaucracy, and Religious Conversion: Ethiopian "Felashmura" Immigrants to Israel 29
4 Converted Innocents and Their Trickster Heroes: The Politics of Proselytizing in India 43
5 Comparing Conversions among the Dani of Irian Jaya 55
6 Social Conversion and Group Definition in Jewish Copenhagen 69
7 Conversion and Marginality in Southern Italy 85
8 "I Discovered My Sin!": Aguaruna Evangelical Conversion Narratives 95
9 Turning the Belly: Insights on Religious Conversion from New Guinea Gut Feelings 109
10 Constraint and Freedom in Icelandic Conversions 123
11 Mystical Experiences, American Culture, and Conversion to Christian Spiritualism 133
12 "Limin' wid Jah": Spiritual Baptists Who Become Rastafarians and Then Become Spiritual Baptists Again 149
13 Converting to What? Embodied Culture and the Adoption of New Beliefs 171
14 From Jehovah's Witness to Benedictine Nun: The Roles of Experience and Context in a Double Conversion 183
15 Converted Christians, Shamans, and the House of God: The Reasons for Conversion Given by the Western Toba of the Argentine Chaco 199
16 Anthropology and the Study of Conversion 211
Index 223
About the Contributors 233
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