Alternative Voices: A Plurality Approach for Religious Studies. Essays in Honor of Ulrich Berner (Critical Studies in Religion/Religionswissenschaft (
By: Oliver Freiberger (editor), Magnus Echtler (editor), Afe Adogame (editor)Hardback
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When scholarship presents the histories, belief systems, and ritual patterns of specific religious groups, it often privileges victorious and elite fractions of those communities to the detriment and neglect of alternative, dissonant, and resurgent voices. The contributions in this volume, which include case studies on various religious and academic contexts, illustrate the importance of listening to those alternative voices for the study of religion. At the same time, they are meant to honor Professor Ulrich Berner, on the occasion of his 65th birthday, and the inspiration his plurality approach gives for studying religion and religions. As the book shows, following this approach brings to light numerous religious beliefs and practices that were neglected by previous scholarship, and it exposes the discourses, conflicts, and power relations in each particular context. It forces scholars to study religion as an ever-contested and dynamic process rather than a static institution, as it is normally conceptualized by dominant religiouselites. The chapters in this book deal with the contested category 'religion'; the plurality of voices in religious, cultural, and ethnic encounters; alternative voices within specific religious traditions; and plurality in the study of religion itself. They demonstrate that listening to alternative voices is not only interesting but methodologically essential for a better understanding of religion.
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