Louvain-la-Neuve (Belgium), 2-5 July 2015.
Session STS 51
Bodily Dimension, Experience, and Ethnographic Research
Dr Alberto GROISMAN, Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina (Brazil)
Dr Emily PIERINI, University of Wales Trinity Saint David (UK)
The growing interest of researchers in reflecting upon and thickening their relationships with participants in religious groups has prompted a critical review of reductionist or rationalizing analytical perspectives concerning religious experience. It seems that the appeal of "taking seriously" what people say about their religious experiences is becoming increasingly consistent. Several dialogical forms are being developed to approach the use of techniques, resources, plants, substances and other strategies used in religious contexts to modify the states of consciousness and the practitioners' relationship with the world. Besides anthropologists, researchers in different fields have also considered bodily engagement in the field—and often in these practices—as an important opportunity for research and reflection, and ethnography as a way to present their findings.
We invite researchers to reflect upon the construction of knowledge through sensory experience in the context of mediumistic and shamanic groups considering questions such as: how does the sensory experience of participants shape their religious knowledge? How does the researcher's bodily experience in researching among these groups inform the production of ethnographic knowledge?
This session raises questions about the bodily involvement of researchers working with religious experiences. Papers may discuss the methodological implications of the body in the field and the ways in which to convey these experiences through ethnography, by addressing the empirical, ethical, epistemological and analytical implications of this significant aspect of fieldwork.
Link to the Programme and Abstracts