The Twenty-first-century Study of Collective Effervescence

Expanding the Context of Fieldwork


  • Arthur Buehler Victoria University



anthropology, ethnography, religious studies, sociology, transpersonal psychology


Durkheim situated the notion of collective effervescence at the source of religious vitality, if not the source of religion itself. Although Durkheim asserted that collective forces/sentiments are measurable and can be investigated scientifically, this phenomenon has been almost entirely neglected by scholars. This article argues that the scientific investigation of collective effervescence requires anthropologists and other scholars to go beyond their current practices of armchair scholarship. Such a move engenders an epistemic pluralist methodology that includes the firsthand subjective and inter-subjective data of lived experience rather than relying solely on conceptual knowledge acquired through text-like verbal utterances.


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Author Biography

Arthur Buehler, Victoria University

Arthur Buehler is Senior Lecturer in Religious Studies at Victoria University, New Zealand.


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How to Cite

Buehler, A. (2012). The Twenty-first-century Study of Collective Effervescence: Expanding the Context of Fieldwork. Fieldwork in Religion, 7(1), 70–97.