RELIGST 3AR3 Lecture Notes - Lecture 2: Ninian Smart, Theism, Ethnography

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TODAY: How do anthropologists study religion?
I. Ethnographic method
II. Naigatig the prole of elief
III. Ethics and reflexivity
I. Ethnographic method
- Participant observation
- Need to hang around at all times
- Figure out how to be appropriate
- Build rapport; friendship making is important
- Extended
- Multiple techniques
II. Naigatig the prole of elief
1. Methodological atheism
- Many anthropologists developed this over time in the field. Instead of feeling different
because the group studying is different, they do’t eliee the. They go i fro a
atheistic perspective.
- Truth? No, it’s eyod the sope. Could’t are less.
2. Methodological agnosticism
- Not addressing the religious truth
- Unknown; allows a level of investigation
- Maybe spirits did possess someoe, ut e I do’t ko.
3. Methodological ludism
- Play along, pretend to be alongside them.
- Evans-Pritchard played along; he did them as if he believed them. He was a ludic, in a
way.
4. Methodological theism
- The hardest to uderstad or sell as a sholarly ork; I a tell you that they hae it
right
- It’s the ost diffiult, eause sietist or athropologist y feel alieated.
Emic = insider explanation
Edict = outsider explanation
III. Ethics and reflexivity
- The critical turn in anthropology and its implications
- Fieldwork ethics and reflexivity
- Encountering other worldviews and practices
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