An Outsider Inside

Becoming a Scholar of Contemporary Paganism


  • Helen A. Berger Brandeis University



Contemporary Paganism, Pagan scholarship


This article explores how serendipity resulted in one sociologist becoming a scholar of a minority religion of which she is not a member. As one of the early scholars of contemporary Paganism, Berger describes both its transformation in the past thirty years and her contribution to that change. She argues that contemporary Paganism, with its lack of rigid structures and use of virtual space to create a “disorganized community” with a network of interactions, learning, and sharing is an excellent venue for studying many aspects of religion, culture, and political action in late modernity

Author Biography

Helen A. Berger, Brandeis University

Helen A. Berger is a resident scholar at the Women’s Studies Center, Brandeis University, Waltham, Mass., and professor emerita of sociology at West Chester University in Pennsylvania.


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How to Cite

Berger, H. A. (2016). An Outsider Inside: Becoming a Scholar of Contemporary Paganism. Pomegranate, 17(1-2), 128–140.



Special Section - Paths into Pagan Studies: Autobiographical Reflections

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