Fieldwork in Religion, Vol 7, No 1 (2012)

The Twenty-first-century Study of Collective Effervescence: Expanding the Context of Fieldwork

Arthur Buehler
Issued Date: 14 Dec 2012


Durkheim situated the notion of collective effervescence at the source of religious vitality, if not the source of religion itself. Although Durkheim asserted that collective forces/sentiments are measurable and can be investigated scientifically, this phenomenon has been almost entirely neglected by scholars. This article argues that the scientific investigation of collective effervescence requires anthropologists and other scholars to go beyond their current practices of armchair scholarship. Such a move engenders an epistemic pluralist methodology that includes the firsthand subjective and inter-subjective data of lived experience rather than relying solely on conceptual knowledge acquired through text-like verbal utterances.

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DOI: 10.1558/firn.v7i1.70

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