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Religious Statues and Personhood: Testing the Role of Materiality (Paperback)
  • Religious Statues and Personhood: Testing the Role of Materiality (Paperback)
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Religious Statues and Personhood: Testing the Role of Materiality (Paperback)

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£28.99
Paperback 216 Pages / Published: 26/03/2015
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Objects such as statues and icons have long been problematic in the study of religion, especially in European Christianities. Through examining two groups, the contemporary Pagan Glastonbury Goddess religion in the Southwest of England and a cult of the Virgin Mary in Andalusia, Spain, Amy Whitehead asserts that objects can be more than representational or symbolic. In the context of increasing academic interest in materiality in religions and cultures, she shows how statues, or 'things', are not always interacted with as if they are inert material against which we typically define ourselves as 'modern' humans. Bringing two distinct cultures and religions into tension, animism and 'the fetish' are used as ways in which to think about how humans interact with religious statues in Western Europe and beyond. Both theoretical and descriptive, the book illustrates how religions and cultural practices can be re-examined as performances that necessarily involve not only human persons, but also objects.

Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
ISBN: 9781474228565
Number of pages: 216
Weight: 313 g
Dimensions: 234 x 156 x 12 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
Whitehead's well-crafted ethnography is a rare account of the material agency of religious statues approached exclusively from the point of view of the humanities and social sciences. It offers a fresh take on issues of embodiment, agency, and ritual performativity. * Material Religion *
The Goddess of Glastonbury and the Virgin of Alcala form two poles of attraction, evoking adherents and their spiritual practices, as well as Amy Whitehead's critical gaze. Across sacred spaces, times, and traditions Whitehead shows how devotional activities dovetail and diverge, with material structures standing at the heart of it all. Out of this, Whitehead creates an animated and adaptable theoretical framework for scholars across many fields of material religion. -- S. Brent Plate, Managing Editor and Co-Founder, Material Religion: The Journal of Objects, Art, and Belief
Religious Statues and Personhood: Testing the Role of Materiality makes an important contribution to the burgeoning literature on material religion and to anthropological material culture studies more generally. The author's relational approach to object personhood points to new ways of understanding both `objects' and `people' in the study of vernacular religion. -- D. Rodney Harrison, Lecturer in Museum and Heritage Studies, Institute of Archaeology, University College London * Dr. Rodney Harrison *

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