Folk Religion in Discourse and Practice
Abstract‘Folk religion’ is a contested category within the study of religions, with scholars increasingly advocating its abandonment. This paper encourages a new critical engagement with ‘folk religion’ as both a category of analysis and as a field of practice. I argue for a renewed attentiveness to the ideological dimensions of categories deployed by scholars and to the relationship they bear to the field of practice they seek to signify. Firstly, I explore the discursive nature of the construction of ‘folk religion’ as a category of analysis and how its semantic loading functions to ‘pick up’ distinctive practices from the religious field. Secondly, drawing on the work of Bourdieu and Riesebrodt, I characterise the ‘folk religious field of practice’ as relational, a shifting site of competing agencies. My argument is illustrated with empirical examples drawn from ethnographic research in Romania and Moldova.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs license, the author(s) and users are free to share (copy, distribute and transmit the contribution) under the following conditions: 1. they must attribute the contribution in the manner specified by the author or licensor, 2. they may not use this contribution for commercial purposes, 3. they may not alter, transform, or build upon this work.
Authors retain the following rights:
- copyright, and other proprietary rights relating to the article, such as patent rights,
- the right to use the substance of the article in future own works, including lectures and books,
- the right to reproduce the article for own purposes, provided the copies are not offered for sale,
- the right to self-archive the article.