Connecting Fitzgerald and Latour for the Sake of Democratic Religious Studies


  • Milan Fujda Masaryk University



Timothy Fitzgerald, Bruno Latour, religious studies, religion, symmetrical approach, actor-network-theory


There is a theoretical and methodological toolbox for postcolonial, i.e. truly democratic, religious studies which is available and ready for use. Through it, the discipline can drop the analytical categories of "religion" and "belief " completely from its vocabulary. Timothy Fitzgerald's criticism of the colonising rhetorical structure of "religion" can thus be carried into completion. This was made possible by redesigning a social science methodology within the study of science and technology. Bruno Latour and his colleagues refined it by employing approaches from ethnomethodology and symbolic interactionism. This paper demonstrates how to transplant this symmetrical approach to religious studies. The distinctiveness of the discipline won't be lost if religion remains in the background as a completely vague horizon-idea arranging the range of heterogeneous interests of various scholars in the field together. Its etic (theoretical) use, however, must be strictly prohibited in order to foster the elaboration of precise descriptive language capturing the exact components operating in the ordering processes under scrutiny.

Author Biography

Milan Fujda, Masaryk University

Milan Fujda is an assistant professor at the Department for the Study of Religions, Masaryk University. In the past, he was interested in cultural and social changes which made the interest of Europeans in Indian traditions possible as a mass phenomenon. Later he has moved towards detailed studies of social ordering inspired by ethnomethodology and actor-network-theory with a focus on managing uncertainty. In theory and methodology, he develops the symmetrical approach of S&TS as a toolbox for religious studies after dropping othering and colonising analytical and descriptive categories “religion” and “belief” of from the discipline’s vocabulary.


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How to Cite

Fujda, M. (2020). Connecting Fitzgerald and Latour for the Sake of Democratic Religious Studies. Implicit Religion, 22(3-4), 391–412.