On Becoming a Lucid Theoretical Dreamer

Reflections on Academic Work Venturing Outside its Local Knowledge System

Authors

  • Anne Beutter University of Lucerne

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.1558/bsor.31008

Keywords:

post-theory, ethnocentrism, epistemology, situated observer, post modern

Abstract

Postcolonial and postmodern critique left us with a range of insights that have a fundamental impact on how we perceive our work as scholars. It has for instance seriously damaged the idea that there is a way to escape epistemology to some kind of ’real’ reality that lies beneath our versions of rendering reality intelligible. This confronts us with a fundamental dilemma: As we always write as situated observers there is no proper / unbiased way to write about ‘others’, however not considering ‘others’ is ethnocentric and therefore wrong as well. Forced to take a stance towards this dilemma, this essay expands on the questions at stake and indicates a possible positioning towards it.

Author Biography

Anne Beutter, University of Lucerne

Anne Beutter M.A. has completed her BA and MA in Sociology and the Study of Religions at the Universities of Basel (Switzerland) and Leipzig (Germany). She is the Academic Assistant at the Department for the Study of Religions at the University of Lucerne (Switzerland) and is writing a PHD thesis on legal structures in a Mission Church in the early 20th century in the then Gold Coast (Ghana).

References

Clifford, James. 1986. “Partial Truths.” In Writing Culture: The Poetics and Politics of Ethnography, edited by James Clifford and George E. Marcus, 1–26. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Geertz, Clifford. 1983. “Local Knowledge: Fact and Law in Comparative Perspective.” In Local knowledge: Further Essays in Interpretive Anthropology, 168–234. New York: Basic Books.

Knott, Kim. 2005. “Spatial Theory and Method for the Study of Religion” Temenos 41(2): 153–84.

ollmar-Paulenz, Karénina. 2012. “Außereuropäische Religionsbegriffe.“ In Religionswissenschaft, edited by Michael Stausberg, 81–94. Berlin: De Gruyter. https://doi.org/10.1515/9783110258936.81.

Legendre, Pierre. 2012 [1988]. Das politische Begehren Gottes. Studie über die Montagen des Staates und des Rechts. Translated by Katrin Becker. Vienna: Turia & Kant.

McCutcheon, Russell. 2017. “Beyond Cynicism. A Sampling of Current Work in the Swiss Study of Religion.” Bulletin for the Study of Religion 45(1): 3–6. https://doi.org/10.1558/bsor.30940.

Pirie, Fernanda. 2013. The Anthropology of Law. Oxford: Oxford University Press. https://doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199696840.001.0001.

Published

2017-04-18

How to Cite

Beutter, A. (2017). On Becoming a Lucid Theoretical Dreamer: Reflections on Academic Work Venturing Outside its Local Knowledge System. Bulletin for the Study of Religion, 46(1), 17-19. https://doi.org/10.1558/bsor.31008

Issue

Section

Articles