Category: religion

  • Schumacher’s ‘Buddhist economics’

    I’ve been talking to a colleague recently about developing a project on religion and economics under the auspices of the Religion and Political Culture Network (RPCN) at the University of Manchester. This has got me thinking about Buddhism, economics and Buddhist economics, and has led me to reread Ernst Friedrich Schumacher’s classic essay Buddhist economics, […]

  • Needham’s review of Paul Veyne’s ‘Did the Greeks believe in their myths?’

    This post is a continuation of my thoughts in my previous post… Now to Needham’s review of Veyne’s book. The review is short, and much is taken up with flattering comments on Veyne’s style, but overall the conclusion is negative—he characterises the argument as ‘erratic and inconsistent’. On my reading, Needham makes three substantive points, which I shall […]

  • Rodney Needham and Paul Veyne on religious belief

    I recently came across a review by Rodney Needham of Paul Veyne’s Did the Greeks believe in their myths? I was quite intrigued by this as these two authors are representatives of two approaches to the study of religious belief and the anthropology of belief I have been thinking about for a while . They have often squabbled in my head, […]

  • The Meaning and End of Religion

    Over the weekend I read Wilfred Cantwell Smith‘s The Meaning and End of Religion (1962). I knew a little about this book from Talal Asad’s 2001 article (jStor paywall), which I suppose is the main way most anthropologists of religion have come to know its content too. Asad lavishes praise on Smith at the beginning of the […]

  • Abby Day’s Believing in Belonging: Review

    Here’s my review of Abby Day’s Believing in Belonging which appeared in last year’s edition of the Journal of Religion and Society. Though I didn’t quite buy the theoretical argument of the book, I thought the substantive work on people’s attitudes towards institutionalised religion, gods, ghosts and fate was fascinating. The commentary on the census […]

  • Cultures of Belief — post-print version of article

    As promised, here’s a post-print version of my Cultures of Belief article, which was published in Anthropological Theory. cultures-of-belief-post-print The text is identical to the journal version, but the formatting is different — this is the version I’m allowed to distribute according to the publishing agreement. If you have access to the journal, for example […]

  • Cultures of Belief – New paper out in Anthropological Theory

    I’ve just had a new paper out in Anthropological Theory — this is behind a paywall, I’ll make a post-print version available through this website soon for those who don’t have access to the journal through an academic library. The paper is titled ‘Cultures of ignorance’. In a nutshell, the argument is that academic students […]

  • Literacy, religious renaissance and the ‘morality system’

    This is a cross-post from ethics.CRASSH. Felicitas Becker on Islamic reformism and Sufi traditionalism in Tanzania I’ve just read two fascinating papers by Felicitas Becker on moral conflict in East Africa. Both papers describe the relationship between Islamist reformers and Sufi-influenced traditionalists in rural Tanzania. Broadly speaking, the Islamists are young, have international connections (though these are […]

  • Cross-cultural conversations at cross-purposes

    Part of my argument in the recent neoliberalism debate was that, evidence of discontent about any aspect, be it ever so narrow, of what have been identified as neoliberal transformations is taken, without further justification, as a rejection of all of the phenomena that have been so identified My point was that just because lots of people […]

  • Evolution and Religion Part III

      This post is the third in a series in conversation with Martin Michael Blume, prompted by his original post on www.scilogs.com. See my first post, Michael’s reply, and my second post.  Dear Michael, Thanks again for taking the time to engage with me earlier. Sorry that this is a bit of a long reply… In your comment […]