Publisher: Lexington Books
Number of pages: 120
Weight: 318 g
Dimensions: 239 x 162 x 15 mm
Conducting fieldwork on and writing ethnography about populations that practice proselytizing religions poses a particular challenge to researchers. As the case studies in this book evidently show, this creates both ethical dilemmas and spaces for engagement which are difficult to handle but also highly informative. This book deals directly with these dilemmas as it demonstrates the authors' attempts to cope with the particular way of being in-between that doing religious ethnography requires. . . .The open attitude that the authors exhibit toward these dilemmas works well and demonstrates clearly that these questions involve complex relations and require ongoing consideration during fieldwork. . . .All the chapters describe how the authors strive to find the best way to dwell in the in-between that fieldwork involves. . . .[T]he book contributes to anthropological research as a whole by putting central methodological and epistemological dilemmas of the discipline into particularly sharp relief. * Journal of Anthropological Research *
This collection of provocative essays reveals the challenges, anxieties, and dilemmas involved in the ethnographic study of religion and faith. These are valuable and honest assessments and reflections-full of insight for those who find themselves negotiating their personal and research identities while being objects of proselytizing. -- Kevin K. Birth, Queens College, City University of New York
Missionary Impositions is a fine collection of reflections on how a fieldworker's relationship to religion, whether one of doubt, faith, or something else, influences their relationship to the people they encounter and the process of doing ethnography. It raises many fascinating and indeed profound questions about the nature of anthropology as knowledge, not only what implicit assumptions anthropologists make about their subjects, but also what those subjects think about anthropologists, and how their mutual misunderstandings both enable working relationships while troubling the conscience and confidence of the people involved. Many chapters also dwell on the often neglected emotional and experiential side of fieldwork, and suggest that personal involvement in the lives of one's research community can lead to greater insight. The chapters describe a variety of types of field setting in many different kinds of religious community and many different types of research, and will contribute to ongoing debates about ethnographic practice and anthropological epistemology. -- Ryan Schram, University of Sydney
The one thing that every ethnographer brings to the field is her or his own self, complete with histories, beliefs, identities, habits, and bodily dispositions that can open ethnographic doors - or close them. With this thoughtful collection of essays, we finally have a whole book that grapples with the special challenges that this inescapable fact brings to the anthropology of religion. Reflexive without being solipsistic, sensitive without being alarmist, this book raise enough provocative questions to encourage anyone from a beginning student to a seasoned ethnographer to rethink what it means to study religion `in the wild.' -- Jon Bialecki, University of California, San Diego
This collection of essays drives home the multiply experienced reality that ethnographic fieldwork is a demanding enterprise involving the entire selfhood - intellectual, emotional, physical, psychological and spiritual - of the researcher; no part can conveniently be packed up and left at home. The potentially transformative power of ethnography is implicated here and this elegantly presented volume - with rich bibliographies for students and practitioners alike - invites us to consider the ways that our own selves may be reconfigured and reconstituted, even `bent out of shape', in our unremitting quest to penetrate the inner life-worlds of others. * Culture and Religion *
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