Embodiment, meaning and the anthropology of religion

SOURCE: Journal for the Study of Religion
OUTPUT TYPE: Journal Article
PUBLICATION YEAR: 2008
TITLE AUTHOR(S): S.Pillay
KEYWORDS: POLITICAL CHANGE, RELIGION
DEPARTMENT: Democracy, Governance and Service Delivery (DGSD)
Print: HSRC Library: shelf number 5501

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Abstract

Since the events of September 11, 2001, the role of religion in modern political life, and its implication with "terrorism" has come under scrutiny. In particular, this discussion has relied on a distinction between Islam and a secular modern West. This article revisits an important debate between two eminent anthropologists of religion, Clifford Geertz and Talal Asad, in order to clarify the conceptual and political stakes involved in the contemporary conceptions of secularism as a distinct form which defines the modern political community. It questions the self-evident nature of this distinction by considering the historical genealogy of religion as a discrete domain of social life.