The Insider/Outsider Problem in the Study of Religion: A Reader

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Perhaps the most crucial theoretical and methodological issue that confronts the student of human behavior and culture, is what scholars of religion have come to know as the insider/outsider problem.
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Overview

Perhaps the most crucial theoretical and methodological issue that confronts the student of human behavior and culture, is what scholars of religion have come to know as the insider/outsider problem.
Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
The insider/outsider problem in religious discourse has its impact at the academic level, rarely venturing into lay realms of belief and faith. The notion that someone can get inside another's belief system and speak with integrity about it exists in tension alongside the notion that only those within a tradition can speak for it. The debate rages on between etic and emic, reductionism and belief, anthropology and theology. These controversies continue, remarks editor McCutcheon (religion, SouthWest Missouri State Univ.), but re-creating the claims and counter-claims provides invaluable insight. Reprinting stellar essays from the likes of Kant, Geertz, Otto, and current scholars like Wendy O'Flaherty and Rosalind Shaw, this work covers religious experience, religious anthropology, reductionism, neutrality, and the scholarly voice. As McCutcheon notes, this text has no one use. Indeed, its application to religious studies seems nearly universal. Highly recommended.--Sandra Collins, Univ. of Pittsburgh
Booknews
This is the first volume in a new series of anthologies that aims to represent the theoretical, definitional, and methodological issues of the last 100 years as complex, contested, and vibrant problems rather than as self evident, institutionalized, or established. Twenty-seven selections address the insider/outsider problem, which asks: To what extent can someone understand the beliefs of another? Can one see, from the outside, the interior spiritual life of someone else? In answer, these essays--some considered classics and others less known--look at such things as theoretical background, the autonomy of religious experience, reductionism, neutrality and methodological agnosticism, and reflexivity and the role of the researcher. Among those anthologized: Rudolf Otto, Mircea Eliade, Raymond Firth, Immanuel Kant, and Wendy O'Flaherty. Distributed by Continuum. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
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Product Details

Table of Contents

Preface
General Introduction 1
Pt. I Theoretical Background: Insides, Outsides, and the Scholar of Religion
1 Body Ritual Among the Nacirema 23
2 Etic and Emic Standpoints for the Description of Behavior 28
3 Is Understanding Religion Compatible With Believing? 37
4 "From the Native's Point of View": On the Nature of Anthropological Understanding 50
Pt. II The Autonomy of Religious Experience
5 The Idea of the Holy, Chapters I-III 74
6 The Meaning and Task of the History of Religions (Religionswissenchaft) 82
7 A New Humanism 95
8 Feminist Anthropology and the Gendering of Religious Studies 104
9 An Anthropological Approach to the Study of Religion 114
Pt. III Reductionism and the Study of Religion
10 What is Enlightenment? 133
11 In Defense of Reductionism 139
12 Religious Discourse and First Person Authority 164
13 Reductionism and Belief: An Appraisal of Recent Attacks on the Doctrine of Irreducible Religion 179
14 Religion, Explanation, and the Askesis of Inquiry 197
Pt. IV Neutrality and Methodological Agnosticism
15 Within and Without Religion 221
16 Neutrality in Religious Studies 235
17 The Study of Religion: Neutral, Scientific, or Neither? 248
18 Does Understanding Religion Require Religious Understanding? 260
19 Fessing Up in Theory: On Professing and Confessing in the Religious Studies Classroom 274
Pt. V Reflexivity and the Role of the Researcher
20 The Scholarly Voice and the Personal Voice: Reflexivity in Belief Studies 294
21 The Witch as a Category and as a Person 311
22 The Uses and Misuses of Other People's Myths 331
23 Writing About "the Other" 350
24 Writing Ethnography: The Poetics and Politics of Culture 354
Pt. VI Conclusion
25 The Devil in Mr. Jones 370
26 Religious Studies and "Heaven's Gate": Making the Strange Familiar and the Familiar Strange 390
27 Theses on Method 395
Sources 399
Index 403
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