Religions in Practice: An Approach to the Anthropology of Religion / Edition 4

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Religions in Practice: An Approach to the Anthropology of Religion, 4/e

By: John R Bowen of Washington University in St. Louis

Basic Approach:

This widely used textbook offers a unique perspective on how people engage in everyday religious practices–like prayer, sacrifice, initiation, and healing–by investigating broad-scale issues, such as transnationalism, gender, and religious laws.

No other text examines the full spectrum of religions, from small-scale societies to full-blown “world religious movements.” The in-depth treatment of Islam, Hinduism, and Christianity is of particular interest to students, and is easily expanded to include field projects directly related to material covered in the text.

Highlights of the New Edition:

  • Chapter 5, “Transforming Selves”, engages religion on a personal level by asking how people engaged in prayer or initiation or conversion change their ideas of who they are.
  • Chapter 7, “Science and Religion”, now includes discussions of what science has to say about religion and how religious believers can teach science.
  • Chapter 9, “Worship and Hierarchy”, discusses the worship tradition from ethnographic, historical, and political perspectives.
  • Chapter 10, “Images and Faith: Focus on Worldwide Catholicism”, emphasizes the importance of imagery in carrying Catholicism into new lands.
  • Chapter 12, “Transnational Diaspora Religions”, emphasizes the complex flows of ideas and practices across continents and over centuries.
  • Chapter 13, “Focus on Muslims in Europe”, examines the distinct patterns of Islamic adaptation across European countries.
  • Chapter 14. “Religions, Radicalism and Violence”, adds new discussions of why cross-religious violence occurs in some places and not others, and emphasizes the importance of looking for social and political factors to explain these patterns of conflict.
  • Chapter 15, “Secularism and Religions in Modern States”, looks at the ways in which secular states govern religious diversity through political and legal structures.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780205578610
  • Publisher: Allyn & Bacon, Inc.
  • Publication date: 12/26/2007
  • Edition description: Older Edition
  • Edition number: 4
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 6.84 (w) x 9.18 (h) x 0.58 (d)

Table of Contents


1. Studying Religion Through Practice.

What is “Religion”?

An Anthropological Approach to Religion.

Practices, Contexts, Diversity.

2. Social Theory in the Anthropology of Religion.

Religion as Intellectual Activity.

Religions in Social Life.

The Psychology of Religion.

3. Ideas and Practices of “Religion” in Europe and Elsewhere.

Western Ideas of Religion.

Other Religions, Other Models.

Combining Religious Practices in Japan.

4. Ritual and the Shaping of Emotions.

Rites of Passage.

Initiation, Secrecy, and Fear.

Death Ritual and the Social Order.

Grief and Ritual Form.

5. Transforming Selves.

Gender and Anthropology

Creating Gender through Ritual.

Producing a Pious Female Self

Converting to a New Faith

6. Extending our Powers: Magic and Healing.

Magic, Patterns, and Causes.

Explaining Misfortune.

The New Age.

Wicca or Modern Witchcraft.

7. Science and Religion.

Does Prayer Heal?

Narrative and Pain Relief.

Does Evolution Explain Religion

Can Creationists Teach Evolution?

8. Sorcery, Witchcraft and Modernity.

La Sorcellerie in Cameroon.

Azande Oracles.

Sorcery and Modernity.

Witchcraft as Satan versus God.

9. Worship and Hierarchy.

Sacrafice, Offerings, and Deities

Bathing at Benareas

Muslim-Hindu Violence

10. Images and Faith: Focus on Worldwide Catholicism.

Relics and Images in Catholicism

Mary and Marys in European Societies

11. Sacred Speech and Divine Power.

The Qur'ân as Recitation of God's Speech.

The Creative Power of Navajo Speech and Song.

Speech and Grace in Protestant Churches.

12. Transnational Diaspora Religions.

Transnational and Diasporic Religions

The Jewish Diaspora: History and Ritual

Transnational Religion: Africa and Brazil across the Atlantic

Mary in Mesoamerica

South Asians Overseas

13. Focus on Muslims in Europe.

Migration and Transnational Ties

Transnational Islam in Three Senses

Can European Societies be Muslim?

14. Religion, Radicalism, and Violence.

Cults, Sects, and Violence.

Explaining Where Violence Occurred: The Hindu-Muslim Case

Struggle and Authority in Islam

Recruitment to Terrorism

15. Secularism and Religions in Modern States.

How to Think about “Secular States”

Three Meanings of “Secularism”

Secularism and Pluralism in the United States

Secularism and Public Religion: Three European Variants

When Religion Underlies Law

Secularism, Faith, and Toleration

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