Implicit Religion, Vol 22, No 3-4 (2019)

Connecting Fitzgerald and Latour for the Sake of Democratic Religious Studies

Milan Fujda
Issued Date: 4 Aug 2020


There is a theoretical and methodological toolbox for postcolonial, i.e. truly democratic, religious studies which is available and ready for use. Through it, the discipline can drop the analytical categories of "religion" and "belief " completely from its vocabulary. Timothy Fitzgerald's criticism of the colonising rhetorical structure of "religion" can thus be carried into completion. This was made possible by redesigning a social science methodology within the study of science and technology. Bruno Latour and his colleagues refined it by employing approaches from ethnomethodology and symbolic interactionism. This paper demonstrates how to transplant this symmetrical approach to religious studies. The distinctiveness of the discipline won't be lost if religion remains in the background as a completely vague horizon-idea arranging the range of heterogeneous interests of various scholars in the field together. Its etic (theoretical) use, however, must be strictly prohibited in order to foster the elaboration of precise descriptive language capturing the exact components operating in the ordering processes under scrutiny.

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DOI: 10.1558/imre.41065


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